What to do after a car accident

After a crash, drivers should gather data, act politely and call help to ensure their insurance claims and related processes can be completed quickly.

Whenever Ohio residents go out on the road, there is a risk of a car accident taking place. According to the Ohio Department of Public Safety, there were 305,964 motor vehicle collisions over the course of a single year. These crashes had a number of different outcomes, including 77,514 personal injury cases, 227,396 property damage incidents and 1,054 fatalities. No matter what happens because of a traffic incident, those involved in the crash need to follow certain steps whenever possible.

Collect information

Drivers involved in an accident need to collect as much information as possible at the scene of the crash. The first data he or she should get is the name and contact information of the other driver and the other party's insurance provider and policy number. It might also be beneficial to get other information, including the following:

  • Name and contact data for witnesses
  • Description of involved vehicles
  • Name and badge number of responding officers
  • Location of the accident

This variety of data may make the insurance claim process easier because the person filing the claim will not have to search for information about the accident.

Be courteous

Car accidents can be a hectic time, so it is easy for anyone involved to lose their temper. However, everyone should strive to be courteous even in this stressful time. Making small talk with the other driver is okay, and may even make it easier for everyone to share their preferred methods of contact.

While being polite is a must, drivers should be careful to avoid oversharing. For example, it can be detrimental to an insurance claim if someone admits his or her fault at the scene of the accident. Similarly, vehicle operators involved in a collision should not sign any documents unless they are for the police or his or her insurance provider. Signing something prematurely may make it impossible to get money from the other driver's insurance policies.

Notify help

Help can come from a variety of places. The first people who should be called to an accident are emergency medical responders and law enforcement officers. These teams can ensure everyone is healthy and safe. Next, drivers involved in a crash should call their respective insurance providers. Claims adjusters can help vehicle owners understand what type of coverage they have. Insurance providers may even be able to help speed up the communication between the two parties involved in the crash.

In Ohio, traffic accidents can leave drivers financially, physically and emotionally crippled. If a crash results in injury, property damage or death, it may be beneficial to contact an attorney who is familiar with this type of personal injury case.