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When you are in an auto accident, that moment of impact is frightening. As you inspect yourself and your vehicle for damage, confusion may cloud your perception. What’s happened, and how can you fix it? The post-crash process is less scary with these next steps to take after you are in a car accident.
Check Yourself and Others
First, do an inventory of yourself. Can you move? Does anything hurt? If you have passengers in your car, ask them if they’re OK. If there was another vehicle involved in the accident, check on their well-being if you can. But if you are seriously injured and cannot check on others, call 911 immediately or have someone else do so.
Get to Safety
If your car accident was minor and your car is still drivable, pull over to the side of the road and turn on your hazard lights. Any other vehicles involved should do the same if they can. Major collisions in the middle of the road will need police assistance to block off the area.
If you haven’t already called 911, now is the time to do so. However, some police departments are transitioning to online reporting and won’t respond to a minor collision in person. If it’s a fender-bender or a minor sideswipe, you may be able to skip this step.
Collect and Exchange Information
Take photos of all damage sustained to your car and any others involved in the collision. Note the names, addresses, phone numbers, and license plate numbers of any other drivers involved. Exchange insurance information with other drivers to cover any auto repair costs. (If you collided with a stationary object like a guard rail or a tree, this step isn’t relevant to you.)
See a Doctor
Even if you walk away from the auto accident with no noticeable injuries, get checked out by a doctor anyway. Concussions and spinal cord injuries aren’t always noticeable right away. In addition, if you feel stressed or hypervigilant after the accident, make an appointment with a therapist or psychiatrist. Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is common in survivors of car accidents.
When you survive a car accident, the aftermath can be daunting and confusing. But remember: you’re not alone. There are systems in place, like the police and insurance companies, who deal with accidents all the time. Stay calm and remember these next steps to take after you are in a car accident, and you’ll navigate the process with a clear head.