Every year, the US reports millions of car accidents; it is a common phenomenon, one that is expected to happen to many drivers at some point in time. While most accidents tend to be minor, a victim sustains fatal injuries in at least 1 in 5 car accidents.
If you are involved in a car accident, there are a few precautionary measures to take that will protect you in the long run as you move forward getting medical help, legal help, and compensation for damages. Here are a few things you should do immediately after you get in a car accident.
1. Stop and Pull Over
Do not ever flee the scene of an accident, whether it was caused by you or not, and even if it is minor.
When you flee from an accident scene, especially when you are at fault, you are committing a “hit and run.” At the very least, you will be issued a traffic ticket. If you caused damages, injuries, or fatalities, you’ll likely be liable for harsher punishments such as jail time and high fines.
It’s in your best interest to always pull over and take stock of the situation when possible after an accident.
2. Call the Police
You should call the police even if no severe damage or injuries have occurred. You may even be legally required to call them in some states. Ensure that you give an accurate report of the incident when the police arrive to assess the situation.
Alternatively, you can visit the nearest station to file your report. A police report is convenient because your insurer might ask for a copy when processing your claims.
3. Take Pictures
Taking pictures is an excellent way to document how much damage your car and the other driver’s car have sustained.
Capture essential details such as the other car’s license plate, as well as any bodily injuries you have sustained. Ensure that you take these pictures as quickly as possible, as picture evidence can also help insurers process your claims.
4. Exchange Information
You must exchange information with the other parties involved in the accident, especially if the police do not respond to the accident. Information should include their full names, home, and, if possible, work addresses, phone numbers, and insurance information.
If there happen to be any witnesses, ensure that you collect their information and get in touch with them in case you go to court. They will be able to corroborate your story and help out in the long run.
5. Get Any Necessary Medical Help
When you get involved in an accident, you might not notice any injuries at first. The danger is that your injuries could be internal; you should, therefore, seek medical attention as soon as possible and let a medical professional give the all-clear. Untreated injuries could become fatal or lead to other severe medical conditions.
6. Report the Accident to Your Insurance Company
While this step can certainly wait until after you’ve received medical attention, you should notify your auto insurance company of the accident as soon as possible. They will advise you on the next steps to take and explain the claims process to you. Ensure that you provide them with sufficient information and essential documentation such as a police report and pictures.
7. Consult an Attorney
Personal injury attorneys are trained to protect your rights during an accident investigation. They will help take the right steps to move forward with a claim should you run into issues with your or another party’s insurance company. Consult with them before any crucial decisions such as writing an insurance statement or settling for compensation.
Accidents are harrowing experiences, but with these tips, you can handle yourself as calmly and professionally as possible while taking all the necessary steps for your current and future well-being.