For any person, getting into a car accident is a frightening experience. Car accidents can come with a lot of baggage, including a damaged car to repair or replace, hospital fees, insurance issues, and many others. Some car accidents happen even when you try your best to do everything right.
Most people don’t know what to do when they get into a car accident for the first time. They often question who they have to communicate with first or how they should go about resolving the situation. Of course, contacting a reliable lawyer from law firms like Cochran, Kroll & Associates, P.C. should be one of your top priorities in this situation.
To help you prepare yourself should you ever find yourself in this situation, here are other things you should do when you get into a car accident for the first time:
1. Stop And Indicate Your Involvement
After getting into an accident, don’t flee from the scene or drive off to the side, no matter how minor it may seem. You should only proceed if you can clearly see that there’s absolutely no harm to your car whatsoever. If you felt that your car made any form of contact with something outside, it’s best to stop and think before doing anything else.
If you don’t stop at the scene of any type of car accident you were involved in, or if you avoid offering any form of assistance, you might receive felony or misdemeanor charges. This could be a very tedious process that can avoid if you stop. Unless all parties involved agree to proceed and all cars have been carefully assessed, you should stop and cooperate in any discussion related to the incident.
It’s also important that you protect the scene, which can be done by switching your indicator lights on and letting them flash. This notifies people that you’ve stopped for a reason and allows them to drive away from the scene. If you’re driving at night, try and switch a torch on so people can see you more clearly, especially if your car lights were affected by the accident.
2. Call The Police
Whether someone has been injured or not during a car accident you were involved in, it’s important that you call the police. This is one of the most important things to do after a car accident. Unless the vehicles of all parties significantly interfere with traffic, they should remain in their exact position post-collision so that police can thoroughly and clearly assess the scene.
Furthermore, if you want to file a claim with your insurance company, a police report is usually required. A thorough police report can only be made if the police are informed soon after the accident and the scene hasn’t been tampered with. In some areas, car accidents are caused deliberately and a clear assessment of how the accident occurred could reveal such malicious intent.
3. Provide Clear Information To Various Authorities
After a car accident, it may be hard to remember some details due to the shock, injuries, or various other factors. However, this doesn’t mean that there’s room for speculation or lying. It’s important that you give a clear explanation of what you remember and what exactly occurred. The police, your insurance company, the doctors that work with you, or any other authorities require the truth and accurate information in order for you to proceed seamlessly.
If the police ask you what happened, be sure to tell them everything, from what happened minutes before the accident to the actual car accident and its aftermath. The same goes for the doctors or health workers. If you’re feeling pain anywhere or are bleeding in a certain area, inform them so that they’re able to assess the injury.
Furthermore, the information that you give when filing a claim with your insurance company should align with the information that you provide the health workers and police with. You should also be informed of all the parties that were involved in the accident. When you’re equipped with all this information and are ensuring that all the details are accurate and clear, the process that you have to go through will be more seamless.
4. Collect Your Own Evidence
The police may not be quick to respond at times and may miss some things during their investigation. Given that possibility, it may be worthwhile to collect your own evidence without interfering with any ongoing investigations. You could go about collecting your own evidence by taking pictures of the scene. This includes your car and any other cars involved in the accident. You could also take pictures of your injuries and the surrounding area of the accident.
Having pictures of visible damage could benefit you in the future. Some areas have road accident funds which, at times, can only be claimed after a long time. In this case, your pictures may come in handy because you have them as an immediate source of evidence. This may also apply to insurance claims in some cases.
Furthermore, collect information regarding all the parties involved in the accident. Some information that could be collected are names, phone numbers, and addresses. You could also exchange identity numbers if consent is granted. Some passersby may have witnessed the incident. It’s best to collect the information of any witnesses soon after the accident. Such information may be of good use to you in making various reports.
5. Seek Medical Help
Sometimes people tend to downplay their injuries because they’re focused on getting their car fixed and obtaining insurance. So much so that they forget that they got injured in the accident. People also tend to downplay the severity of certain injuries. There’s great danger in not seeking medical help when you need it because it may develop into something worse and more costly to remedy.
Soon after your car accident, the first questions your loved ones usually ask are, ‘Are you hurt?’ or ‘Are you okay?’ The reason for this is that your health and wellbeing are a priority after an accident and shouldn’t be disregarded.
Dealing With The Aftermath
The process after a car accident may seem daunting when you first think about it, but if you’re better informed on the dos and don’ts of how to handle a car accident, you’ll feel more at ease. Hopefully, you’ll never get into a car accident. But if you do, at least you’ll be somewhat prepared to move forward seamlessly.