It can happen in an instant. A vehicle collides with yours, damaging it and possibly injuring you in the process. It can be a very traumatic event. In some cases, you may be disoriented. It all happened so fast and you have no idea who is in the wrong. Did you do something wrong? Was the other driver at fault? Are you injured in the accident?
This happens more frequently than you probably realize. In 2020, there were more than 101,000 serious injuries reported from traffic accidents in Canada. Although car accidents may be common, they are unique and traumatic experiences for most drivers.
There is plenty of time to determine who is at fault and exactly what happened in the accident. You may decide to select one of the Edmonton, Alberta car accident lawyers to handle your case. But in the moments after an incident, there are a number of things that you should do.
Check for injuries
After the accident, check yourself for injuries. Check that all of your passengers were not injured. Then check to see if anyone else involved was injured. If there are injuries, call first responders immediately. If you are injured, do not move. Wait for emergency personnel to arrive.
Move to a safe area
If possible, make sure you move out of the roadway to a safe area. If your vehicle is causing a hazard in the roadway and you are able to safely drive it, pull it to the side of the road out of the way of traffic. If it is too badly damaged, leave the vehicle for emergency responders to move it later.
It doesn’t matter if it is a major traffic accident or a minor fender bender, make sure to call the police. They can determine if it is necessary to respond to the accident. Even if they decline to do so because it is a minor accident, they can still file an incident report about the accident. This is an important document that you will use later when filing insurance claims or in any other followup claims necessary.
Wait for help to arrive
You should wait in a safe place for emergency responders to arrive. Turn your vehicle engine off and, if possible, turn your hazard signals on to alert other drivers that they are approaching an accident scene. You want to be at the scene when emergency personnel arrives so you can answer any questions necessary.
Exchange information with drivers
While waiting for emergency responders, you can share contact information with other drivers, including driver’s license information and insurance. At a minimum, you should share full contact information, insurance company name, policy number, driver’s license number, license plate number, vehicle information, location of the accident, and weather conditions. If possible, take photos of the accident scene, the vehicles involved, and the drivers and passengers.
Document the accident
You should take steps to document the accident. Ask for the police officers responding to the accident to provide their names and badge number. Talk to any witnesses who may have seen the accidents and write down their contact information. If possible, record their statements on your mobile phone.
Contact your insurance company
You should call your car insurance company as soon as possible after the accident. Not doing so can lead to serious consequences. At the very least, you can inform them that you were involved in an accident. They will start the claim process at this point. They will explain everything you will need to provide.