An automobile accident can be a frightful experience for anyone. When it occurs, it can be hard to remember what a person should do first. The trauma and confusion of the situation can often leave a person unable to calmly and rationally think of the proper steps to take.
These difficulties make it vitally important for every driver to understand what to do after an automobile accident. Learning them while calm can ensure that they are remembered during a difficult time. These steps can help keep everyone safe and protect the rights of those involved in the accident.
Get Medical Help
If there is any injury at all, it is important to contact emergency services to provide assistance immediately. Anyone injured in a car accident should also contact an attorney to help navigate the legal process to get compensation to cover the costs of the injury.
Even if the injury is minor or the person involved in an accident thinks they are fine, it is always a good idea to get checked out by a medical professional. Sometimes, the extent of one’s injuries does not present themselves immediately.
The shock and adrenaline of the accident can sometimes mask symptoms of an injury. Some injuries do not show pain until later. Waiting to get care can complicate treatment or pose serious risks to a person’s life. Even if the pain comes later in the day, it is a good idea to get checked out to be sure there is no serious issue.
Waiting to get medical care can also make any claims for compensation more difficult. A person may think that the injury is minor and put off getting care until things get really bad. The insurance company may try to claim that the injuries are not severe and reduce compensation for medical care.
Immediately after an accident, the best thing to do is to assess the situation for injuries and determine if the vehicle can be moved. For safety reasons, it is a good idea to move the vehicles off of the main roadway to prevent further accidents.
It may not always be possible to move the vehicles. Severely damaged vehicles or when there are serious injuries, moving the vehicle may not be possible or recommended. In these situations, steps should be taken to warn other drivers.
If there are road flares or hazard signs available, place them a little way up the road from the accident in both directions. If flashers on the vehicles still work, these should be turned on as well. This can help notify drivers of the hazard so that they can slow down and prevent further issues.
If none of these things are available, it could be a good idea to have a bystander help direct traffic. One or more people can stand in a safe area of the roadway to flag down oncoming traffic. Directing traffic can help keep everyone safe until help can arrive.
Contact the Police
After everyone is in a safe location, the next step, if they have not already been called, is to call the police. The police can assist in assessing the situation and begin filing the accident report. This report will be necessary when filing any insurance claims.
The police can also notify a tow truck company to aid in moving damaged vehicles away from the roadway. The police are also better equipped at directing traffic and keeping the area safe from further accidents or problems.
The police will likely take all information from everyone involved in the accident. This will include statements about the accident, as well as personal information of both drivers. The officer on the scene can also inform the drivers of how to obtain a copy of the report.
Although the police will take a lot of information at the scene, it is important that each driver gather information, as well. Personal information should be taken from the other driver. This includes driver’s license information, the driver’s full name, home address, and phone number. If possible, their email address should be taken as well.
The driver’s insurance information should also be obtained. This includes the insurance company and their policy number. Their license plate number can also be beneficial in filing a claim. There should also be information gathered about the accident.
Everyone seems to have a phone with a camera these days. Use that phone to take photos of the accident. This should include pictures of the damage to all vehicles involved. There should be pictures taken of the area where the accident occurred. These can be very beneficial during the claims process.
It is also important to assess if there are any witnesses or cameras in the area. Gather information about the witnesses, including how to contact them with questions. Check with local businesses to see if their security systems caught the accident.
Contact an Attorney
It is important to contact the insurance company to get the claim started for the accident. However, it may be a good idea to contact an attorney first to help with this process. An attorney can assist in providing the right information to the insurance company to protect the rights of the driver.
This can be especially important if the person has been injured in the accident. Vehicle repair is expensive, but it does not compare to the costs that can come from an injury. Those costs can be multiplied if that injury is serious or will become a permanent disability.
Insurance companies are businesses and will do everything they can to keep their payouts as low as possible. An attorney can assist injured parties to ensure that their rights are protected throughout the process and the right compensation is awarded.
Contact Insurance Company
Each driver should contact their own insurance company to inform them of the accident. This allows them to begin the claims process and provide information on the steps needed to complete the process. However, it is important for drivers to only speak directly with their own insurance company until the process has been started.
When providing information to the insurance company, only provide the facts of the accident. They do not need any inferences or speculations about what might have occurred. Their team will inspect the situation and determine all the information for the process.
Eventually, the other insurance company may want to speak with the injured party. It may be a good idea to get assistance from an attorney before taking this step. This can ensure that all questions are answered properly, and everyone’s rights are protected. Hopefully, this information is not needed. However, it is always a good idea to be prepared in case a vehicle accident occurs. This can ensure that everyone is prepared, and the process can go much smoother.