It is important to keep calm, stay safe and remain focused after a car accident. The following are six important steps to take after a car accident:
- Report the accident to the police after checking to see if anyone needs an ambulance. After a car crash, it is important to assess the injuries of yourself and others involved in the accident. Get medical attention immediately for anyone who is injured. Rather than attempting to move an injured person, which has the potential to make their injuries worse, summon emergency medical assistance. Report the crash to the police or the Missouri State Police and inform the emergency dispatcher how many people need emergency medical aid. Turn on your vehicle’s hazard lights, and then find a safe location to wait for the police to arrive. Do not let an at-fault driver talk you out of calling the police. A police report of the accident will be essential to have if you need to file a claim to recover compensation.
- Get license and insurance information from other drivers. The Missouri Motor Vehicle Financial Responsibility Law requires all drivers to carry at liability insurance in the event of a car crash. Exchange insurance and vehicle registration numbers, in addition to personal contact information with the other drivers involved in the accident.
- Get names and contact information of witnesses. Law enforcement will generally take statements from witnesses at the scene of a car accident. It is always a good idea to make note of anyone who may have witnessed what happened, and request their contact information.
- Take photos of accident scene with phone camera. Use your phone camera to document the accident. Photos at the accident scene may provide critical evidence to support your accident claim. They may show your injuries, the amount of damage to your vehicle, as well as road, traffic, and weather conditions that may have led to your accident.
- Get medical evaluation (even if you believe you are uninjured). A seemingly minor car accident injury can have serious consequences on your overall health. Some injuries are not immediately apparent after an accident and may take hours or days to appear. Seek a medical assessment and inform the doctor who treats you that you have been in a car accident. Medical records play a valuable role in insurance claims and personal injury lawsuits, so make sure you are examined by a physician as soon as possible.
- Consult with a personal injury lawyer about your legal options.