Post-accident protocol tips

Drivers can be understandably distracted after a car accident. Planning ahead can help to ensure the right steps are taken in these difficult times.

Even the most minor fender bender can leave drivers feeling disoriented, upset and unsure of what to do. When an accident finds a White Plains driver facing serious injuries, the confusion can increase even further. Protecting opportunities for compensation is important at this time while also tending to immediate needs. For this reason, it can be helpful to have planned ahead of time for what to do after an automobile accident happens.

Accident emergency kit

The Consumer Protection Association of America recommends that all motorists have an emergency kit in their vehicles. These kits should include flares, bright cones or other items that can visually warn oncoming motorists about a hazard. Hazard lights can also be turned on for this purpose. Reflective wear, headlamps or flashlights are also wise in case an accident happens in dark hours.

State Farm adds that drivers should have a completed document with medical information for themselves and any family members. This can be very helpful if injuries are severe and victims are unable to communicate to emergency crews. Tending to injuries should always be the first order of business.

If possible, vehicles should be moved out of the way of traffic to a safe location. If this is not possible, drivers and passengers should ideally remain in the vehicles safely buckled in until help arrives.

Obtaining documentation

Exchange of driver information can be a critical step in the post-accident process. Details to be shared and obtained to and by all parties include names, full contact information, driver's license numbers, license plate numbers, and insurance names and policy numbers.

Because cell phones can be damaged in an accident, drivers should always keep pen, paper and disposable cameras in their glove boxes. This gives them a way to take pictures of the accident scene and to write down needed information. Noting details such as road conditions can be helpful later on as well.

Accident report filing

The New York Department of Motor Vehicles notes that for any accident in which any person is injured or killed, the police must be called immediately. No driver should ever leave the scene of an injury or fatal accident until instructed to do so by police. Accident reports will need to be filed by all involved drivers and the police.

For accidents without injury, reports must filed if the property damage exceeds $1,000. Failure to file an accident report with the DMV within 10 days of the incident can result in suspension of driving privileges.

Next steps

Certainly drivers will need to be in contact with their insurance companies after a vehicle accident. Contacting an attorney should also be done to gain additional help seeking proper compensation.