Things you should know after an auto accident

In 2015, more than 2.4 million people were injured and nearly 35,000 people died in 6.2 million automobile crashes nationwide, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

What to do following a car accident

If you are involved in a car accident, there are certain steps you should take to minimize adverse outcomes. Here are six of them:

  • Try to stay calm following your accident. Take a deep breath, check for injuries, and call an ambulance.
  • If the accident is minor, and it will not put anyone in jeopardy to do so, move the cars involved in the accident to a safe place. Turn on hazard lights when necessary.
  • Call the police. Without a police report, you may find it extremely difficult to convince your insurance company you were not at fault and to pay for your injuries and damages.
  • If you are able, take photos of the damage to both vehicles.
  • If you are physically able, make notes as soon as possible about the accident. These notes should include the name, phone number, license plate number and insurance information about the other person, as well as witness contact information.
  • Contact your insurance company as soon as possible after your accident. Give your insurance company the basic facts of the accident.

What not to do after a car accident

  • Never admit responsibility for the accident, even if you think it might have been your fault, or even partially your fault. Even saying “I’m sorry” to the other party could potentially be misconstrued as an admission of fault.
  • Never sign any document without speaking to an attorney first.
  • Never agree to allow the insurance company to record your conversation without speaking to an attorney. You are not required by law to allow your conversation to be recorded.
  • Never, ever leave the scene of the accident, particularly when there are injuries, or you could face criminal charges for hit-and-run.
  • Never discuss your accident on social media, and don’t talk to anyone about the accident other than your own attorney, your own insurance company and the police. Avoid talking to a representative of another insurance company without discussing it with your own insurer and/or your attorney.