5 Key Things to Do Immediately After a Car Accident
Vehicular accidents are among the leading causes of injuries and deaths in the United States. In fact, statistics claim that every year, there are about 6 million car accidents in the country, where more than 37,000 people die and more than 2 million are injured. While most of these accidents are caused by irresponsible and negligent driving, car accidents can still happen to responsible drivers due to other factors that are beyond their control.
Regardless of the cause of the accident, a car crash, whether it is minor or severe, can be shocking, frightening and stressful for the people involved. It could leave you disoriented and confused, but there are certain things that you must do immediately after a car accident.
The time right after the accident is the most crucial. Knowing what to do in such a situation is very important, especially if you need to file an insurance or personal injury claim. Below are 5 key things that you should do immediately after a car accident.
- Safety first
Immediately after the accident, it is of utmost importance to make sure that you and your passengers are safe. Check yourself for any injuries or pain. Do not go out of your car unless you are completely sure that it is safe to do so, or if doing so could worsen an injury or put you in more danger.
If you have passengers with you, check if they are okay. If there is another vehicle involved in the crash, make sure that the people in that car are safe as well. If you are trained to do it, provide first aid to those who need it, or call medical professionals immediately.
Do not move anyone who is unconscious or having neck and back pains, unless it is hazardous to stay in the location. If you are able to get out of the vehicle, use warning devices like flares or hazard lights to alert other motorists while waiting for help to arrive.
- Stay at the scene of the accident
Regardless of the severity of the crash and who caused the car accident, you have to stop and stay at the scene. If you were the cause of the accident, leaving the scene could be grounds for hit and run charges. Find a safe place to stay with your vehicle until authorities arrive. Do not leave even if the accident is not your fault.
- Call the authorities
Many motorists only call the authorities when there is serious injury or property damage after an accident. However, it would be wise to call 911 even if it is just a minor car crash. Clearly explain the details of the accident to the police. The police’s accident report would be a huge advantage, should you need to file a claim or lawsuit.
- Take photos of the accident
Take as many pictures of the accident as soon as you think it is safe, even if you know that the authorities will do so when they arrive. Photos of the property damages and injuries on the scene on the day of the accident will be very helpful in court or for your insurance claim.
- Exchange information
If there is another motorist involved in the car accident, it is important that you get the other driver’s information. The police will eventually obtain this information from both parties for their report, but it would be best to do this right after the accident.
Get their complete name, contact numbers, license number, plate number and insurance details. Take note of the passengers’ and possible witnesses’ details as well. Remember that when exchanging information with the other party, stay as cooperative and calm as possible.
Contact a Lawyer for Legal Advice
If you have a lawyer, you might want to get in touch with him or her so they can give you advice on legal matters.
Getting involved in a car accident may be a big hassle for you and could cost you some money, especially if there are serious physical injuries or property damages. It is natural to feel anxious or angry about it. However, you have to remember to keep your cool and avoid heated discussions with the other party, as you might say or do something that would jeopardize your claim or lawsuit. Just follow the five steps above in a calm and collected manner.