Being the victim of a car accident isn’t something many people expect when they sit behind the wheel. However, car accidents happen quite often, with over six million of them occurring annually in the United States alone. These statistics only highlight the importance of being prepared for such unfortunate events. With that in mind, here are some helpful tips on what to do after you’ve had a car accident.
Prioritize your safety and safety of others
After a car accident, your top priority should be making sure that you and people around you are safe. But before you can do that, you’ll need to protect the scene first. To do that, you’ll need to turn on the hazard lights or set up flares. If that’s not possible, use a flashlight to alert other drivers. If your car is causing a major traffic problem or if no one is hurt, move the car to the side of the road, but wait for the police to arrive first if possible. In case of severe accidents and injuries, do not attempt to move the vehicles.
Also, do not attempt to leave the scene of an accident. No matter how minor the collision may be, you should always stop. Driving away from the scene of an accident is considered an offense in Massachusetts, California, and most other U.S. states and is punishable by the law.
Contact the authorities
Regardless of whether someone’s been visibly hurt or not, the next step should be to contact the authorities. You can do so by calling the local police station or calling 911. Sometimes, the police may not respond to minor accidents. However, if they do show up, you will need to file an accident report.
When the police officers arrive, do your best to make an accurate record. That means avoiding mistakes like speculating or misstating any of the details of the accidents if you’re unsure about them. Even if the police don’t show up, make sure to file an accident report as this can help you get your claim faster.
Speak to an auto accident lawyer
The second most important thing you need to do after ensuring safety is to make sure your rights are protected. The best way to do that is to speak to an auto accident lawyer in your area. This is especially important in case you suffer injuries in an accident caused by another driver and plan on filing a claim against their insurance company.
According to a reputable Phoenix car accident attorney, it’s important that you receive legal advice before giving any statements to the insurance company. That way, you’ll make sure that you receive fair compensation after suffering an accident that wasn’t your fault. This is a much better option compared to settling your claim quickly and for less money which is something the insurance company will try to convince you to do.
Make sure to collect all the important information
After suffering a car accident, it can be difficult to think logically. While staying calm and collected is definitely a challenge after experiencing so many mixed emotions, it’s important that you make an effort to document everything. Start by collecting evidence from the scene of the accident, taking photos of the scene and vehicles. Make sure to document any visible physical injuries and damages to the vehicles.
Then, move on to exchanging important information with the other driver, obtaining everything from name and address to phone numbers and driver’s license numbers. Make sure to note down the other driver’s license plate number as well, along with insurance providers and policy numbers. Finally, note down everything you can remember, from the weather and visibility to the road condition and road signs. Sketch a diagram of the scene if needed – it can come in handy when recalling certain details of the accident.
Make sure to seek medical attention
Certain car accident injuries may go unnoticed at first and may become obvious after one or two days. Even if there’s been a minor impact collision, it can still wreak havoc on your head and spinal cord. These injuries can cause serious and permanent damage, even if you don’t experience any pain or other symptoms at first.
This is why it’s a good idea to head to the emergency room and seek medical attention following the crash. That way, you’ll also make sure that any injuries you’ve sustained are documented and included in your car insurance claim.
Car accidents are unpredictable, and something not many of us expect to be involved in. However, when such accidents occur, it pays to be prepared so you know which steps to take. By educating yourself ahead of time, you’ll be able to cope with such an event more easily and make the most of it, if not prevent it altogether.