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What six things should you do after a car accident?

In Delaware, there are nearly 700,000 licensed drivers driving over 900,000 vehicles and driving an estimated 10,151,000,000 miles around the state every year. With this many people navigating the roads, it is not hard to believe that the most recent report on driving statistics shows there were 26,453 traffic accidents over one calendar year.

With statistics like this, if you drive often enough, you will likely at some point be involved in a traffic accident. Whether it is a small fender bender or a more serious crash that involves injuries, it is important to know what to do following an accident. Here are a few key things you should do following an accident to protect yourself.

What to do if you are in a car accident

  1. Stop – It is illegal to not stop after an accident. You must stop even if you do not believe that there was damage from the accident.
  2. Do not admit responsibility – Do not discuss what happened with the other driver. There will be time enough later for that. Whether you are fuming about the accident or the driver of the other car is, try to remain calm.
  3. Call the police and check for injuries – Check to see if anyone in your vehicle or the other vehicle is hurt. When you call the police, request an ambulance if necessary. Remember that injuries can take a day or two to become apparent. Even if you do not seek emergency medical attention, you should see a doctor as soon as possible.
  4. Get an accurate record of the accident – A car accident can be jarring and stressful. One moment you are driving and the next you are standing in the street looking at damaged cars. The tension often keeps people from gathering the information they need. When speaking to the present police officer, provide as much detail and facts as you can remember. Make sure the information the other driver has provided is accurate as well.
  5. Take photos – The good thing about everyone having a phone nowadays is that they come equipped with a camera. Take as many pictures of the damage, intersections and injuries as you can. 
  6. Exchange information – Even though the police officer will be gathering information from all the people involved in the accident, you should also collect names, phone numbers, addresses and license plate numbers from everyone involved.

An auto accident can leave you in minor state of shock. It is important not to be distracted or to let the confusion keep you from protecting yourself. You should be in contact with an attorney who can go over the details of the crash and work on your behalf if you seek compensation for the negligence of others.

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