It is never easy for parents to allow their teens to begin driving. As experienced drivers understand, operating a vehicle can be a risky business. Guiding your teen through the basics of what to do if he or she ever happens to be involved in a car accident can help to set your mind at ease and can potentially save your teen from unnecessary stress.
Whenever possible, it helps to be prepared before you get into a car accident. Therefore, you can tell your teen that, “Not only should you have your license, registration, and insurance information handy, you also should have an emergency kit.” Items such as a first aid kit, a flashlight, and a roadside assistance kit may already be in your car, but it’s good to also have a seat belt cutter and a window breaker as well.
Additionally, you’ll want to have a disposable camera (as a backup for your smartphone), some pen and paper, a list of medical allergies and conditions for you and your regular passengers, and a contact list of local law enforcement.
With all that preparedness in mind, the safety of everyone involved should be the top priority. Everyone should be checked out to see if they are OK. If not, call 911 immediately. Afterwards, move everyone to a safe place, such as a sidewalk. If your car only sustained minor damage, then move it to the shoulder so that it doesn’t block traffic. Put your hazard lights on as well as flares, orange cones, or reflective triangles.
Remain calm. This may be hard to do with an adrenaline rush. U.S. News and World Report even suggests making small talk with the other driver. You’ll also want to make sure to not apologize and never admit guilt. This may leave you open to lawsuits later.
Obtain information from the other driver: name, address, phone number, make and model of their car, license plate number, and insurance carrier and policy number. You can also try to obtain additional information such as an email address, a photo, and, if the driver isn’t the owner of the car, the car owner’s name.
Contact the police and file an accident report. Be prepared to give them your license, registration, proof of financial responsibility for your car, and a current address if it differs from your license. Also ask for a copy of this report, which can help settle disputes about proof of fault as well as bolster your insurance claim.
Take a lot of photos of your car. You can use a disposable camera or your smartphone. Also, take photos of the accident scene as well as the surrounding area. Take a lot of notes about what exactly happened, as these notes will help with your insurance claim and the police report.
Finally, see a doctor as soon as possible. Even if this was a fender bender, you may have experienced injuries that may take time to be felt or realized.
Even after taking all these precautions, you may be sued by the other driver, or you may need to pursue legal action against them. An experienced personal injury lawyer can give you some needed guidance and advice for next steps.