Each and every year, around 6 million car accidents occur in the US, resulting in approximately 100 deaths every single day and countless injuries too. These statistics make for harrowing reading, and the worries only intensify when we see that, in many cases, a lot of people involved in car accidents weren’t necessarily doing anything wrong.
There are a lot of innocent victims of auto accidents, collisions, and crashes. Many people follow the rules of the road, keeping their hands on the wheel at all times and their eyes on the road around them, not letting themselves get distracted by phones and other devices, and never even thinking about driving under the influence.
Unfortunately, these careful drivers can be harmed and put at risk by the negligent or reckless actions of others. There are plenty of drivers out there who pay far less heed to the rules and laws of roads and highways, breaking speed limits, failing to stop at stop signs, trying to make calls and send texts while driving, and so on.
You never know when you might encounter one of these kinds of drivers or find yourself involved in an accident for some other cause or reason, which is why it’s so important to know what to do and how to respond if an accident happens. Many people panic and stress after accidents, and rightly so, but if you know the correct legal steps to take, you won’t have to worry quite as much about the situation.
Find the Right Lawyer
As well as making sure you receive medical attention and file a police report (covered below), it’s also important to make sure you contact a lawyer promptly in the wake of an accident, as they’ll be able to start collecting evidence, putting a case together to defend you against any potential insurance issues or allegations that might arise and guiding you through the process.
As the experienced attorneys of McGuire Law Firm in Oklahoma state, “Lawyers who handle car accident cases must have a deep understanding of the rules of the road. They should also know how to deal with an auto insurance company and obtain an accident report from the police.”
This is why it’s essential to find a lawyer with a proven track record in handling auto accident cases. Some lawyers specialize in totally different areas of law, while others may not have the experience or expertise necessary to take on a case like yours. So make sure you take the time to find a firm you can trust, with legal representation that can give you the best chance of success.
Seek Medical Attention
It’s absolutely vital to get medical aid in the wake of an accident. Obviously, if you or any of your passengers show serious visible signs of injury, such as cuts, wounds, broken bones, difficulty moving, whiplash, and so on, you should try to remain as still as possible, as long as it’s safe to do so until the medical emergency workers arrive on the scene.
In emergency situations, someone should dial 911 immediately and get help out to you as soon as possible. However, even when your injuries appear less serious or you don’t even notice any injuries on yourself or your passengers, it’s still important to get yourself checked out by a doctor.
This is because, in many cases, injuries from auto accidents may not be clearly visible or tangible straight away. The signs and symptoms might only appear a day or two after the crash, and it’s essential to get a professional medical diagnosis as soon as possible so that you can start treatment or receive medical advice for any injuries you may have incurred.
Document and Report the Incident
All auto accidents, collisions, and crashes should be reported to the police. This is a key step towards making sure you have some future evidence to rely on if the case goes further, as well as for insurance purposes too. Even minor collisions should be reported so that the police have an official record stating what happened, as this may be invaluable to your legal team later on.
So, after an accident, be sure to call the police and report it. They may send officers out to the scene to assist you if needed, as well as collecting witness statements regarding what happened and making sure all drivers involved in the incident comply with the rules and exchange their information.
This is also the time to document the site of the accident too. This includes taking photographs of the vehicles involved, as well as photographing any injuries on yourself or your passengers too. This photographic evidence can, once again, prove to be very valuable later on if a legal case develops and insurance adjusters or opposing lawyers try to argue that the crash wasn’t as serious as you suggest or that you didn’t have the injuries you claim to have.
Act with Speed and Caution
In the wake of an accident, it’s quite common for people to make silly mistakes. You’ll probably be feeling disoriented, stressed, confused, or panicked, as well as potentially worried and scared about injuries or damages you may have incurred in the collision too. In this kind of mental state, it’s normal to make mistakes, but it’s important to try and remain as calm and focused as you can.
Remember the steps above, making sure you report the accident, document the scene, get medical aid, and get in touch with a lawyer as soon as you can. Following these steps will make a real difference in the long-term, helping to give you the best chance of a satisfying conclusion to your case in the future.
Waiting too long, forgetting to take photos, not calling the police, ignoring medical advice, posting about the incident on social media, and other common errors can all be disastrous in the long run.
Being in an accident can be a very scary experience with damaging short and long-term consequences, but if you take the right steps and have the right approach, you can get through this difficult time and achieve the best possible outcome, whether that be in court or with your insurance company.