What should you do if you're involved in a car accident?
Experiencing an accident on the road is a scary thing any car owners don't want to deal with. However, we cannot completely control the situation. The best way to handle an accident is to prepare for one.
There are a few important things you should do in case of a car accident:
If it is a minor self-driving car accident, move your vehicle out of the road to a nearby safe location without leaving the scene. Activate the hazard lights. If you have, use flares, warning triangles or cones for extra security.
You can ask for roadside assistance if your car is not possible to run. Do not stand on the road and try to be as calm as possible. But, if you're hurt and cannot be able to get out of your car or it is unsafe to do so, just keep your seat belt fastened and activate your hazard lights.
Ask for help
Calling the police or dialing 911 is always important whether an accident is considered a major collision or a minor fender-bender. It is, in fact, legally required in some states.
The report of responding officers can be used for your claim process later on as well as help establish who is at fault. What if the police you've contacted are not able to come to the scene of an accident? Go to the nearest police station and complete a report on your own.
Documenting the accident will help protect yourself. Note down the exact location of the scene, date and time, your speed, weather conditions, road conditions, and the time police arrived.
Get the name and badge number of the responding police officers when they arrive in the scene. Ask where you can acquire an accident report copy. When asked by the police, do not misstate, guess, or speculate. For instance, the police will ask you if you are injured and you might not sure. Just say you are not sure instead of saying no.
As the saying goes, "A picture is worth a thousand words." Therefore, you have to take photographs both of the scene and the vehicles. Clear photos will make it easier for a car accident lawyer to understand the crash and how it happened.
Could you use a mobile phone to take pictures of a car accident? Of course. This is most specifically useful for property damage pictures and other important scenes or details.
The investigating officer usually does this job, but you can document important information if they do not respond to the accident.
Exchange information with other people involved in the accident. This may include the following:
- Names and contact information of the drivers and/or passengers
- Descriptions of the vehicle including the model, make, and year
- License plate numbers
- Policy numbers and insurance companies
Get medical attention
When called to the scene, you have to let yourself to be checked out by paramedics after an accident even though you think you're not really injured. You should go to the hospital if that's what paramedics suggest.
This is because in most cases, injuries do not instantly become apparent as a result of the effects of adrenaline or shock. It is especially a good decision to take a visit to the ER if you experience pain specifically in the neck, abdomen, or head.
Contact your insurance company
Avoid unnecessary disruptions and delays by calling your insurance company ASAP. Allowing your agent to be aware of your situation earlier means helping you to get your life back to normal instantly.
Learn if medical benefits are included in your insurance coverage. This will cover all your medical bills. Your insurance company will help you determine the type of insurance coverage you would need to apply.
File the required documents
Every document is valuable for compensation purposes. Therefore, make sure you file away all car accident-related documents. These include:
- Names, contact numbers, and addresses of all witnesses
- Claim numbers and details and names of the claim adjuster
- Alternative transportation receipts
- And any other assorted expenses related to the accident
You can either do a paper file or a digital file. You don't necessarily have to print out or write down all the information if you don't want to.
Get legal assistance
Consulting auto accident attorney is perhaps the most important thing you must do after an accident. He can secure your legal rights and ensure valuable evidence.
Insurance companies often want to take statements after the incident. Though, it should not be the case. Do not give any statements unless you get legal advice. Your attorney will help you along the way, advising you on issues from the medical treatment you need to the compensation you can get.
It is always important to take into account all these things whether it is a minor or fatal car accident.