Over 6 million car accidents occur on U.S. roads annually, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). This number includes minor fender benders and catastrophic accidents leading to deaths.
With more vehicles on the road than in the last decade, car accidents are increasing. The increase makes it essential for all road users to know what to do immediately after they’ve been in one. See here for information about hiring a car accident lawyer following your accident.
Check For Injuries And Damages
Car accidents can be shocking and can leave your heart thumping. In most cases, the adrenaline rush can take over and numb your pain momentarily.
Start by checking for injuries and damages. Check yourself and any other passengers in the car with you. You should also check on the other driver and their passengers for injuries. Once confirmed, check for property damages.
Never leave the scene of an accident before the police arrive. Leaving the scene can put you in a tough spot, especially as the other driver may cook up stories. Additionally, it may be classified as a hit-and-run (a criminal offense) when you leave the accident scene.
If hurt, call for medical assistance immediately.
Get Yourself, And Your Vehicle Out Of Danger
Take some pictures, make some videos, and get yourself and your vehicle away from the road after confirming you aren’t immediately hurt from the collision. Doing this protects you, your vehicle, and other unsuspecting road users from running into you. It also eases the traffic that may now have built up behind you.
In the event of severe injuries, you won’t have to worry about this as you and other injured passengers may have been transported to the nearest medical facility.
Contact The Police
The police are important in documenting your accident and what happened at the scene. Contact the police and wait for the operatives to arrive.
In some states, you may find that the police are transitioning to online reporting. For such states, the police officer at the other end of the line will guide you through the online reporting process. Ensure that you have provided only factual information about the accident to the police.
Once reported, obtain a copy of the police report for safekeeping and also for evidence.
Exchange Important Information
Evidence plays a huge role in a car accident claim. The success of your case depends on the evidence you have to prove negligence on the at-fault party’s side.
Take as many pictures and videos of the accident scene, injuries, and damages as possible. You should also collect the other driver’s information, including their name, phone number, insurance details, etc.
While at the accident scene, collect information from eyewitnesses, as this may be important in proving liability later.
While exchanging information, be sure not to share your Social Security Number, your insurance coverage limits, or other sensitive personal information.
Take Detailed Note Of The Accident
Accident experiences add to the pool of information in our brains. If undocumented, the story may become fractured over time. It is important to document the accident to avoid missing the details when you need it the most.
If you can, get a pen and paper to document when, where, and how the accident happened. You can also use your phone’s notepad or voice/video recording option to document the happening. This will capture all of the essential information needed to pursue a claim when the time comes.
Don’t Take Responsibility And Don’t Discuss It
Human nature is unique and drivers may want to immediately take responsibility for their actions, even if they weren’t at fault. In a car accident case, you must avoid doing this.
Avoid uttering apologetic statements or owning up to a fault. Doing this can be used against you later, especially when you discover you’re not at fault and wish to pursue an injury claim.
A rule of thumb is to avoid discussing responsibility or accepting it. Instead, exchange important identifying and insurance details with the other driver and contact your insurer to report the accident.
Call A Tow Truck Or Your Insurance Company
Call a tow truck if your car has been badly damaged and unfit for driving. If, however, your car is fit, contact your insurance company to report the accident and the damages your car suffered.
Most insurance companies have a 48-hour rule during which policyholders must report issues. Ensure that your insurance provider is notified as quickly as possible to ensure a smooth process.
See A Doctor
Not all accident injuries are physical. Sometimes, accident injuries may be internal or delayed and require comprehensive medical checks to establish. You should visit a doctor as soon as possible after the accident to get yourself checked and treated. The medical report and bills can also be used as evidence to prove your claims.
Hire An Attorney
Hiring an attorney is one of the best ways to improve your chances of negotiating rightly with insurance providers. Personal injury lawyers will assess your case, determine the right strategy, and represent you until its end.