What to Do First After an Auto Accident

What to do after an auto accident

What happens in the moments immediately after an auto accident can affect your life and your insurance claims for years to come. Don’t let panic lead you to make bad choices. Instead, use this checklist to protect yourself and your legal interests.

1. Get to Safety

Immediately after an accident, your first priority must be your personal safety. Particularly before emergency responders get to the scene, there is a big risk that another vehicle could add to your problem through a secondary accident. If you can drive your car off the roadway, do so. Otherwise, get a safe distance away onto a shoulder or median. If weather is bad, find a public place to get inside and out of the elements.

2. Call 9-1-1 or the Police

If your car is impeding traffic or if someone has been injured, call 9-1-1 to get police and an emergency medical team on headed your way as soon as possible. If no one is injured and traffic is flowing freely, you may choose to call the non-emergency police number instead. Never assume the other driver will make the call for you. In Michigan, you are required to report any accident with injuries or property damage, so leaving that to someone else could expose you to criminal charges.

3. Document the Accident

While you are still on the scene, your next step should be to document as much as you can about the accident. That could include:

  • Getting the other driver’s ID and insurance information;
  • Taking pictures of each vehicle, the scene, and any injuries you suffered. You can use your cell phone camera to capture the circumstances at the time of the crash, including weather, lighting, and visibility.
  • Making statements to the police. Deciding how much to tell police is a double-edged sword. If you may be at fault for the accident, anything you say could be used to prove that at court and reduce your damage award. However, documenting what happened while everything is still fresh in your mind could help your auto accident attorneys get a complete picture later on.

It is best to do all this documentation while you are still on the scene. That way everything is exactly like it was when the crash actually happened.

4. Get Medical Attention

Not every accident will require an ambulance ride to the hospital. But no matter how small the crash, you should always see a doctor, just to make there are no hidden injuries or traumatic brain injuries.

5. Contact a No-Fault Lawyer

You will need to notify your insurance company of your intent to file a claim within days of your accident. But this isn’t something you should do on your own. Statements made to your auto insurance company in this initial claim can limit your benefits later on. Don’t wait. Contact a Christensen Law auto accident attorney as soon as possible after your accident. Our team will help you file your claim correctly and on time, so you’ll get the most out of your no-fault benefits.