First 10 Minutes, First 10 Hours After a Road Accident
The key to keeping it together after a crash is to prepare before an accident occurs. Start by assembling an accident kit for your car, and keep it in your trunk. Include basic medical supplies, a pen and paper for notes, and medical alert cards for any family member with allergies or other medical conditions. Then:
First 10 Minutes
- Stay calm – Assess the health and safety of your passengers before you do anything else.
- Call 9-1-1 immediately if you or anyone else in your car is injured.
- Get out of harm’s way – If property damage is minor and you can do so safely, move cars and people out of traffic.
- Turn hazard lights on to warn other drivers.
- Exit your vehicle safely and check on the drivers and passengers in other vehicles for injuries. Make sure help is on the way, if necessary.
- Call police even if the accident is minor and there are no injuries. Don’t leave until they arrive.
- Be polite, don’t blame others and don’t admit fault.
- Take pictures with your cell phone camera if it’s safe to do so.
- Exchange basic information with other drivers: name, address, phone number, license plate number, driver’s license number and insurance company details. But DON’T discuss blame or any other specific details about the accident.
- Ask witnesses for names, phone numbers and addresses.
First 10 Hours
- Secure vehicle for transport; remove valuables or other personal items.
- Seek medical attention as soon as possible if you were injured, even if you think your injuries are minor.
- Write notes for your records on everything about the accident, including weather, time, location, statements made, etc.
- Contact your insurance agent.
- Revisit the accident scene and take photos. Look for skid marks or anything else that seems important.
- Photograph your injuries if they are visible.
- Obtain police reports as soon as they are available.
- Evaluate damage to your car and get repair estimates.
- Contact your employer if you cannot work.
- Contact an experienced car accident attorney
- If you are injured and/or there is extensive property damage;
- Before providing any information to an adjuster from another driver’s insurance company;
- If anyone is pressuring you into a quick settlement; and,
- Before the time period allowed for filing a claim (called the statute of limitations) expires.