There are six million car accidents in the United States each year. Fortunately, most of them only result in property damage and not injury. Even if you aren’t injured, being involved in a car accident can be panic-inducing. Even the most level headed people will experience an adrenaline rush that can make you feel flustered. It’s important to try to focus, remain calm and cover all of your bases.
Often, the time immediately after a car accident is the most important to protect yourself and your interests. Being armed with the knowledge of what to do and an action plan can help you stay calm in the moment.
Don’t wait until an accident occurs to consider what you should do. Keep reading for our guide on steps to take in the event you are involved in a car accident.
Stop and Evaluate
If you are involved in an accident, don’t even think about fleeing the scene, you must stop.
If you were not at fault and you flee the scene, you may hurt your chances to recover your damages and you will make yourself look guilty or even you could be charged for hit and run from the scene of an accident.
Besides, you owe it to your fellow human beings to make sure no one is injured and help if they are.
Make sure all cars remain in the same position after the accident, unless they are blocking traffic. If your car is blocking traffic and you are able to move it, make sure it is in a safe place and off the roadway.
Accidents can easily occur as a result of cars stopped from a previous accident. If you can’t move your car off the roadway, turn on your hazards.
If you have flares, set them up. If it is dark and you have an emergency kit, use the flashlight to stay safe. Stay in your car if you are on the road or on the shoulder of the road.
If any parties are injured, call 911 immediately. If you are able to assist any injured persons, do so.
Call the Police.
If the accident occurred on private property, the police may not be willing to respond or file a report. However, it’s worth a try to call the police in order to fulfill the police report even if there are no injuries and just physical damage to the car.
When you are giving your statement to the police, it’s important to be as accurate as possible. Only provide facts to the officer and be honest with them if you do not know something.
This is not the time to speculate. If the officer asks if you are injured and you aren’t sure, tell them you aren’t sure rather than saying “no.”
Injuries from car accidents often do not appear right away. Make sure the statements given by the other parties in the accident and any witnesses are accurate as well.
These days, everyone has a cell phone with a camera. As they say, a picture is worth a thousand words.
Take photos of the vehicles involved, even if there is no visible physical damage. If you were at fault and there was no damage to the other vehicle, it’s important to document that so they the other party does not try to pin additional damage on you.
The same is true if there is physical damage. Take photos to document the extent of the damage and provide photographic evidence of any preexisting damage.
If you are injured and the injuries are visible, take photos of yourself as well.
If the police have responded to the scene of the accident, they will do this part for you and collect information from all of the parties involved.
However, if the police do not respond, you will need to do this yourself. Collect the names, addresses, and phone numbers of all persons involved, including passengers in each vehicle.
Obtain insurance information from the other drivers. The easiest way to do this is to take photos of their insurance cards.
If there are any witnesses, get their information as well. If there is a police report, obtain the police report number from the responding officer.
Get Checked Out
Most injuries caused by auto accidents do not show up for hours or days after the incident. Some can even show up weeks later.
You should either go to the emergency room or your regular doctor to get checked out, even if you don’t think you are injured. Even minor impacts can cause serious damage to your spinal cord.
If you passed out or felt dazed, you may have a concussion or brain injury. It’s better to be safe than sorry.
If you were injured, it’s important to contact a personal injury attorney right away. Lawyers like this car accident attorney will guide you through the insurance claims process and help you get compensation for your injuries.
If You Are in a Car Accident
If you are involved in a car accident, remember to breathe and stay calm. Follow the tips provided in this guide and everything will be okay.
For advice on repairing your vehicle after an accident, check out this post.