It might possibly be one of the worst things that could happen to you. You’re on your way home from a rock concert with your friends, belting out songs from the artist on your radio. But your after-concert high is interrupted when your vehicle gets rammed from the side by another vehicle.
A lot of US residents find themselves in car accidents everyday. Although most of these roadside accidents involve only damage to the vehicles involved, one in three car accidents involves personal injuries to the driver or passengers.
So what should you do if you find yourself in a car accident? Read on to find out how you can take care of a vehicular accident you might be involved in.
It is your legal obligation to stop immediately after getting into a car accident. Even if you think that it is a minor incident, never ever drive away from the scene of an accident.
Assess the scene
If you are not gravely injured, check to see if anyone is in need of urgent medical care. Unless the vehicles are causing a major disruption to the flow of traffic, try to move them as little as possible. The scene of the accident needs to be preserved as much as possible before the authorities arrive.
Prevent further accidents by setting up reflectors, or using your car’s blinkers to notify oncoming traffic of the accident.
Contact the authorities
Regardless of the extent of the damage sustained by the vehicles or the people involved, it is probably in everyone’s best interests to contact the police. Some insurance companies will need you to provide a copy of the police report in order to make a claim for damage to you or your property.
As much as possible, try to limit the discussion with the other party to avoid admitting fault or liability. This might make it even harder for you to file an insurance claim. Speak about the accident in detail only with the police, the medical emergency responders, and the insurance representative.
Note the details of the accident
While waiting for the authorities to arrive, remember to get the details of everyone involved in the accident. Try to exchange names, addresses and phone numbers with the other party. Not only is this useful after a car accident, but if you plan on filing an insurance claim or seeking the assistance of a lawyer, it’s important to get more information.
If needed, take pictures of the scene. If your vehicle has sustained damage, make sure to get a good photo of it. If you or any of the other passengers have sustained injury, make sure to get a photo of the injuries as well. A good rule of thumb is to take the photos before the investigation is done.
Report the accident to your insurance company
Make sure to contact your insurance company to report the accident to them. Most insurance companies have an emergency hotline, so you can call them from the scene and someone will respond. They might even be able to help file the insurance claims properly for you since they will know what details to get.
Seek medical attention
Some medical injuries sustained from a car accident are not immediately felt. Even if you feel like you did not sustain any injuries, it is always a good idea to seek medical attention at the emergency room or with an outpatient physician to check for any signs of whiplash, concussions, or even internal hemorrhaging.