Nobody thinks they will be involved in a car accident until they are. Based on statistics, over 6 million people are involved in car accidents yearly. That is why it is better to be prepared for the unexpected so when it does happen, you will not jeopardize your chances of being helped by your insurance company or a lawyer.
If you’re the victim of an accident or the cause, here are the things that you should do right immediately after a car accident.
1. Exit The Vehicle As Fast As You Can
This is 100% for safety purposes. Some accidents could result in flammable repercussions and you would not want to be in the car when that happens. So, gather your consciousness, or what’s left from it, and try to exit the vehicle whichever way you can.
If you are not the only passenger, check to see if each person is safe, this is on the premise that you were all wearing seat belts. Ask all of them to find ways to leave the vehicle immediately. If anyone is unconscious, get out of the car first, then help the unconscious fellow out of the car as well.
2. Call Or Hire An Attorney
You might be wondering why you need an attorney in minor accidents. The thing is that you can never be too sure. Something minor could land you in jail if the story gets tampered with. A qualified car accident attorney will keep you safe while protecting your rights in the face of the law and your insurance provider.
The things that make a car accident attorney truly qualified are the experiences they had working with car accident cases, offering free consultation while discussing your case, having a personality that’s the same as yours, and possessing a good reputation for fighting till the end. That said, you should be seeking a good attorney that fits this role within your area. According to mysocallawyers.com hiring a lawyer from your area gives you ease of access and ensures you’re dealing with someone who knows what’s applicable in your state.
3. Call 911
This is the next stage of the process. You should immediately dial 911 to get an ambulance and the police to the scene. While this is going on, make sure you stay at the scene of the accident until the police or any other law enforcement officer says otherwise. More so, turn on your hazard lights or place a caution sign a few meters before and after the accident scene area. The reason you are doing this is to alert other drivers regarding the accident and prevent additional collisions.
4. Assess The Scene
Recall that you are supposed to stay at the scene of the accident. So, while you wait for the law enforcement officers and the ambulance to arrive, assess the scene. Take pictures of your car and any other car that is involved. Take pictures of the debris around the area and if you can, collect valid information from the other drivers involved.
While doing this, some people might ask you what happened or ask you to apologize. Try to ‘not talk’ until the officers you called are around at the scene. In this scenario, it’s best to keep quiet unless you’re being asked by law enforcement officers regarding your condition or what brought about the accident.
5. Call Your Insurance Company
The next thing to do is to call your insurance provider, it would be better if you were the first person to do this. Though it is the fourth on the list of things to do, you can also do this right after calling 911. When you let your insurance company know about the accident, they can start processing a claim for you.
They can also send an insurance adjuster right over to take a look at what happened. Take note that though the accident might seem minor, don’t be tempted not to call your insurance provider. Your car might develop faults later on as a result of the accident and by that time, reporting the case would be insignificant and stale.
6. Gather Records
This is the time when everyone you have called is around. You need to make sure that all the reports, documents, statement sheets, receipts, and so on are collected and kept safely. You might never know when you’ll get a call for a lawsuit from the other driver’s lawyer.
Keep the damage reports for all the vehicles involved, receipts for repair and/or replacement of car parts, police reports, medical reports, request from the doctor (if any), reports related to your income if you had to take some time off work because of the accident case, and any personal outline of emotional and mental health stress that occurred as a result of the accident. No matter how long it takes, keep these records. You would never know when you’ll need them. Besides, there is nothing to lose in keeping these documents.
7. Seek Medical Help
If you are not taken to the hospital by ambulance, take yourself to a hospital immediately. Don’t make the mistake of going straight home just because you did not see any external injuries. It’s best to get a full evaluation so that you can avoid further complications in the long run.
However, medically, something will always happen. The rush of adrenaline in your body is enough to hide pain and create soft tissue injuries. So, make sure to make an appointment to see a doctor again afterward. Some of the appointments you should book include an appointment to the emergency room (ER) for evaluation, your personal doctor, and a chiropractor because these are people that are trained to work with the vertebrae and soft tissues, especially after an accident. Ensure that you do this within 72 hours of the accident.
One major mistake people tend to make is looking for the easy way out and making a quick settlement, especially with minor accident cases Although you might save time, you can put yourself into trouble later on. Apart from the fact that your car might develop issues later on which you would have to fix on your own, you might also have to pay for all damages including health repercussions alone. If you’re unsure about what course of action to take after a car accident, it’s always a good idea to consult a car accident lawyer who can guide you through the legal process and help you understand your rights.
Keep in mind all the tips mentioned above because a car crash can have lifelong effects that follow you even after the accident. Take the necessary course of action immediately after an accident to protect your rights and ensure a justifiable outcome.