Did you know that more than 38,000 people die in US road traffic accidents each year? Luckily, for many of us, accidents are not that severe. But do you know how to safeguard yourself when they do occur?
Luckily, we are here to help. Read on as we discuss what to do when you have a car accident.
The first thing you need to do after a car crash is to check how bad your injuries are. If you are lucky, you may be unharmed. Be aware that you may be in a state of shock and could have blocked the pain, so carefully move away from the vehicle to a safe place.
Before doing so, remember to turn off the engine. If you feel well enough, then check the injuries of others in the vehicle and help them away from the accident.
After this, you need to call an ambulance. Even if you feel fine, you will need to be checked over by a professional.
If you feel well enough, and your car is in a decent state, then drive it to the side of the road. This eliminates the possibility of more accidents occurring. Leave the hazard warning lights on the car, and set up any cones or reflective markers to notify oncoming traffic of your presence.
Always be aware that other cars are on the road when doing this. As you may be confused, you could forget and put yourself in danger.
It is vital you report the accident. A police report is necessary for you to file claims with the insurance company.
Ask the police officer doing the report where you can go to get a copy. Make sure you note down their name, badge number, and contact information.
While many officers may not like you telling them how to do their job, if you have any witnesses, try to get the officer to take down their version of events.
Unfortunately, many state departments are now low staffed and are going to online reporting. That means in some minor collisions, an officer may not even arrive on the scene.
Don’t Discuss Blame
When the accident occurs, in conversation with the other party or police, it is important not to discuss blame. The insurance adjuster will decide who is at fault using the reports and evidence.
If you bias the reports by discussing it beforehand, it may not go in your favor.
Regardless of the presence of a police report, you need to exchange details with the other driver. You need their full name, address, and contact phone number. Get their driver’s license and plate number as well.
After this, you need the insurance provider and policy number. Write down the exact location of the accident. If anyone tries to leave without giving details, then make sure you quickly get the registration, make, and model of the car.
If you are not injured and provided it is safe, take pictures of the accident. Get pictures of any crossroads or junctions that may have been skipped. Show any damage, and photograph any skid marks on the road.
All of this is evidence to back up the truth. If the insurance company tries to give a different version of events, you then have visual proof of the circumstances and crash itself.
Talk to Witnesses
It is quite likely that you may not even know what happened in the crash. Someone may have hit you without you even seeing them. In this case, it helps to see if witnesses were on the scene.
Ask them what happened, and see if they would mind you taking their details. If you can, ask them to speak with the police to be added to the report.
Get Medical Attention
The quicker you get medical attention after the car crash, the better. Even if you feel that you are not that badly injured and can wait, it should be your top priority. If not, then you risk the compensation amount you are entitled to.
By waiting a long time, it proves that your injuries were not really bad at all. In addition, the insurance company may claim that the injury occurred between the accident and the time you went to the hospital.
Make sure you get a doctor’s report that has the time and date you got medical attention.
Notify Your Insurer
Notify your insurance company as soon as you can. This way, you can discuss the situation while it is fresh in your mind. They may also be able to talk you through the process.
Do not be tempted to take cash offers. This could be lower than the amount the insurance would have paid out. You also do not know the full extent of the damage yet, either to yourself or to the vehicle.
If you are the injured party and not at fault, then you will be entitled to compensation. In this instance, it helps to have the assistance of a great car accident lawyer. Ask friends and family for recommendations of people they may have used, or check online.
Next Car Accident Steps
In the time between the car accident and the insurance processing, try to live life as normally as possible. Return to work doing minor duties if you are able. Respond to any insurance queries with the truth.
If you enjoyed our article, we have many more to help. From dealing with accidents to navigating the legal landscape, we can help with all life’s emergencies.