Accidents are not a pleasant experience. Being involved in one can mean all sorts of things and can leave you suffering the effects for quite a long time afterward. If you or someone you know has been involved in an accident it is important that you know what to do. Here are the necessary steps you need to follow in case you find yourself in an accident.
Stay Calm And Get Help
Depending on the severity of the accident, the first thing you should do is park your car and put the hazard lights on.
It is important that you stay calm at all times, because not getting into too many explanations at first, and listening to a professional can make moving on from a car accident much easier. Do not admit any fault or throw blame around either. Creating a scene will make things worse.
If you are able to, call the necessary emergency services and report the accident. You’ll need to inform the authorities about how many people are involved as well as the state of everyone, including the sort of injuries as well as the state of the vehicles involved. You’ll also need to give the authorities the following information:
- Your name and contact details
- Exactly where the accident occurred
- A very short description of what happened
Check For Injuries
The next step on the list is to check yourself and your passengers for visible injuries and to ask them if they feel like anything is broken. You can report this to emergency services when they arrive. If anyone is seriously injured do not move them.
Neck injuries are incredibly common and can have lasting effects including paralysis. If the accident is serious do not attempt to move anyone until trained professionals arrive at the scene. If you are seriously injured, try not to move until someone arrives to assist you.
After doing this you can check on the other cars involved in the accident. Remember, do not move people who are seriously injured unless there is further imminent risk, for example, the car is on fire and they can’t get out without your assistance. If anyone is unconscious, make sure that they are still breathing.
Do not give anyone anything to eat or drink as it could cause unforeseen complications when emergency services arrive as they could be in shock. Lastly, apply pressure to wounds to stop bleeding if it seems life-threatening.
If you are not seriously injured, you still need to get a medical check-up. You could have long-term unseen injuries like internal bleeding, or brain injury. If you do not seek medical attention, you could be denied compensation from insurance in the future.
Get Your Vehicle Out Of The Road (if Possible)
If possible, you should move your car out of the way of traffic to avoid further incidents. You can take photos of the initial positioning of the accident, but for the safety of others using the road, clear it as soon as you are able.
If you are not able to move your car out of the road, be sure to move yourself and anyone else who can safely walk to a safe spot out of the way of the road and further accidents.
Plenty of accidents turn into addiction accidents because of car debris on the road, so to avoid further injury it is best to get out of the way of anything else that could happen. Again, be sure to put your hazard lights on.
Document Damages To Both Vehicles
It is important that you assess the damage to both vehicles. This is the correct time to take photos of the cars, showing the position of the cars and how damaged each car is. Take photos of the surroundings, too.
You should take a combination of photos and videos to create a broader image of what happened. When law enforcement arrives they might ask you to draw a diagram of what happened, so be prepared for that. Make a little drawing for yourself while things are still fresh before the shock sets in and things start to get foggy.
Different states have different stances on what sort of information you are expected to exchange with someone after you’ve been involved in an accident. The bare minimum you need is their name and their insurance information. However, you can ask for the following, too:
- The other driver’s contact details, including phone number
- The make, model, and number plate details of the other driver’s car
- The name and contact details of any witnesses
- Name, badge number, and phone number of emergency response and law enforcement officers who responded to the accident
Contact A Lawyer And Decide Whether To File An Insurance Claim Or Not
Before you decide to file a claim or not, it is important that you contact a lawyer as they will assess your case and help you get the compensation you deserve. Insurance companies are notorious for not wanting to pay out the full value of anything, even when you have the most comprehensive coverage.
In the US you are required to have a minimum of bodily injury insurance as well as property damage liability coverage. These are intended to reimburse the other driver as well as their passengers if you are the one at fault in an accident.
Things like collision coverage and personal injury protection coverage are meant to cover the damage to your car and any injuries you may have sustained as a result of an accident.
Filing a claim will depend on:
- Who was at fault?
- What sort of injuries occurred as a result?
- The damage each driver’s vehicle sustained
- The type and amount of insurance you have
- The type and amount of insurance the other driver has
An experienced personal injury or vehicle accident lawyer will be able to help you decide whether you should file a claim and put together the documentation you need. They will also advise you on whether to file a court case or not.
You should be ready with documentation like your police report, photos, and videos of the accident, as well as any other important documentation and evidence you could need.
Car accidents can be extremely stressful and have a long-term effect on you and your family. It is important that you stay calm at all times, seek medical attention, and contact a lawyer as soon as possible.