No one leaves the house planning to get in a car accident. You were just planning a quick run to the grocery store. You put your kids in the back seat, in their carseats, and headed out to the closest store. It was ten minutes away, but you didn't even make it halfway there. Another driver thought that a two-way stop was actually a four-way stop, didn't yield the right of way and pulled out in front of you. You slammed on the brakes, but you still smashed into the side of the other car at close to 60 miles per hour.
It's hectic and crazy, but there are seven things you need to try to remember to do after the accident:
1. Make sure everyone is all right
This almost goes without saying. The first thing you're naturally going to do as a parent, even without thinking, is to check on the kids. If you or they need medical assistance, do what it takes to get it as quickly as possible. Nothing is more important. Then, move on to the following.
2. Do not leave
You may not have caused the crash, but you can't leave the scene. It's dangerous and illegal. Stay and work with the authorities.
3. Take pictures
Photo proof from the accident scene can help your case tremendously. If you're sure everyone is all right and you know it's safe, get out and snap a few pictures with your phone. Get close-ups of the damage, wider shots to show what happened, and a picture of the other driver's license plate.
4. Make the proper report
If no one has called the police, get in touch with them on your phone. Even when no one is hurt and emergency crews don't rush in, work with them to get the accident report on file. This is even more crucial when people are hurt, as that report can help a lot during a court case.
5. Give the other driver your information, and get his or hers in return
You really want to get as much information as possible. Key components include insurance information, name, address, phone number, email address and license plate number.
6. Create a file of accident-related information
This file can contain your pictures, statements from witnesses, documents you file with the insurance company, the police report and more. Keep all of this information close at hand so you can easily get it on the way to court.
7. The final step is to consider your legal rights
A simple trip to the store could leave you with no car, injuries to you and your children, high medical bills and the like. You may be entitled to financial compensation.