Injury Law

Covering Your Legal Obligations After a Car Crash

Car Crash

Being involved in a vehicle collision is a traumatic and disconcerting experience. It’s hard to keep your wits about you when you’ve just smashed your car, but there are several immediate responsibilities you mustn’t forget in the emotion of the moment.

Depending on the variables of the accident, you could be legally subject to a heap of charges. It is wise to understand the process that unfolds in the wake of a car crash, just in case you’re ever faced with such a situation.

Start learning now, by checking out this brief overview of a few of the most appropriate actions to take immediately after a bad auto incident.

The safety of everyone involved

The first thing you should do after a collision occurs is to check the well-being of everyone involved. How it happened is not as essential at this point. Human life and safety come first.

Once you’ve checked everyone involved, get people to safety. If the vehicles are in the middle of a heavy-volume thoroughfare, additional injuries could occur. Get out of the road to a safe area, before you call the police.

Notify the local authorities

Once you’ve relocated everyone to a safe space, call 911 (even if a witness has already done this). It’s essential to notify the authorities, so an official record of the accident can be made.

The local police will take over the scene once they arrive, and make sure everyone gets the care that they need. Officers will also take photographs and compile a written record of each individual’s perspective on the scene.

Though the police are typically very thorough, you should take your own pictures of the scene for personal documentation.

Exchange insurance and identity information

Make sure to exchange insurance information with the other drivers involved. If fault cannot be immediately determined, it is critical that everyone presents their information. The insurance companies and the police will take the necessary steps to determine fault.

Also, make sure you gather as much information about the other individuals involved in the collision as you can. Sometimes injuries don’t rear their ugly head until some time after the incident. You need to make certain that all the people involved are fully documented.

Document everything about the accident

It has already been stated, but it cannot be stressed enough: Document everything about the crash. Your memory may not be be treated as reliable evidence in a court of law. You should have a concrete record to help justify your level of responsibility for the crash.

Notify your insurance agency

After you are safe at home, you will need to notify your insurance agency of the collision. Your insurer will immediately begin to do the necessary legwork regarding your claim, and get the proverbial “ball rolling” on reparations.

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Anna Johansson is a freelance writer, researcher, and business consultant from Olympia, WA. A columnist for, and more. Anna specializes in entrepreneurship, technology, and social media trends. You can follow her on LinkedIn.

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