Car accidents are almost inevitable – the majority of people had to go through the tragic experience of being in a car accident. Of course, some are less severe than others, but car accidents happen at a glimpse of an eye and could be someone else’s fault.
Even if you have been driving for long years and follow all the recommended safety precautions, knowing what to do if you go through a car accident will help you with the aftermath. Because when it happens, you want to make sure everyone’s safe and claim your full rights if there are any. So, it’s advisable to be prepared just in case that happens.
“A victim of a car accident might have the right to millions of dollars in claim settlement without them knowing,” according to The Barnes Firm, an injury law firm in NYC.
Here’s what to do after a car accident:
1. Check for safety. Whether you are alone in the car or have others with you, it’s important that you call the ambulance right away, even if the injuries are minor. Because injuries could be minor but have long-lasting consequences if not taken care of right away.
2. Move to a safe place. After a car accident, get away from the road and move the passengers if there were any, if possible. If your car is in good shape and isn’t dangerous to drive, move it to the side of the road to avoid any safety hazards. If it’s not, don’t push yourself and prioritize your safety.
3. Call the police. No matter what car accident you’re in, you must call the police if you’re able to right away. The law in some states demands that those who are in a car accident call the police right away. This is important because the police will file an accident report and document what happened in the scene before the evidence gets swiped off. The police report also helps when filing with your insurance company to get the claims.
4. Signal for help. If you are able to move, turn off the car’s engine (if it’s safe to do so), turn on the lights that signal to cars that you need help, use road flares to signal to cars on the road that they need to speed down.
5. Saving information. After you made sure that you and all those in the car accidents are safe, make sure to get the contact information of the other driver (or drivers) involved in the car accident. You want to save their contact information, insurance company and policy number, car’s plate number, their personal driver’s license number, details of the car (color, model, type), and the exact location of where the accident happened.
6. Don’t discuss whose fault it is. One big mistake people do is discussing faults right after the car accidents. It’s advisable to leave these matters to professionals such as the adjuster working in the issuance company. He will inspect the case and detect whose fault it is based on the vehicles’ condition and the information you provide as well as those provided by the other party or parties.
7. Documentation. To better protect your claims, it’s important that you document certain information. First, get the names and badge numbers of the police officers in the scene, get a copy of the accident report filed by the police officers because you’ll need it for the insurance claim, capture the accident from different angles, write the names of all the people involved in the accident, and try to gather witnesses if there are any, and write down their contact information.
8. Contact the insurance company. If possible, contact your insurance company right away while you’re still at the car accident scene because when you do so, they’ll tell you what they need from you to start processing the insurance claim and what information you can get that could support your claim.
Whether you’re the one driving or one of the passengers, going through a car accident is surely a traumatic experience, and could take a hassle to settle down the aftermath. Even the best drivers in the world are at risk of crashing with other cars.
Hence, it’s important that you minimize the risk by following safety precautions and being prepared by following the aforementioned steps in case you happen to be in a car accident – they ease the process of insurance claims, police reports, safety concerns, and filing for your rights a lot because these steps might become a hassle if you haven’t taken the appropriate steps during the car accident scene.