Over 3 million people are injured each year in car accidents. What will you do if it happens to you?
Hopefully, it never will, but if you or someone you love is injured from a car accident, it’s important to know what to do. This ensures both your health and your vehicle are protected, and that you’re not left out of pocket.
Read on to learn the seven most important things to do after a car accident, if you’ve been hurt.
- Call 911 and Seek Care if Injured From a Car Accident
What to do after a car accident? Most importantly, make sure you’re ok!
The first thing to do after a vehicle accident is always to look after the health of yourself and your passengers.
Even for mild accidents, it is good to call 911 and get checked out by paramedics— whiplash, back pain, and lacerations are very common after accidents and you want to make sure you’re not suffering from any injuries that may not be visible.
No matter what, never leave the scene of an accident. This is a crime. When police do arrive, always answer their questions truthfully— they are there to help.
If you or anyone else is seriously injured, try not to move until the ambulance arrives to care for you safely.
- Move the Cars to Safety
Once you’re sure it’s safe to do so, secure the scene and get out of harm’s way by moving the cars off the road, if you can.
For accidents where the car can still be driven, both drivers should move onto the median, a side ramp, parking lot, or a grass strip to avoid impeding traffic. It’s also dangerous to be out of your car on busy roads, so put your wellbeing first.
Look for a safe place where you can both get out of your cars, without causing disruption.
However, the police may not want the cars moved at first, so always follow the direction of law enforcement.
If you have flares, it can be useful to put them out, to warn other drivers that something has happened.
You may want to keep a flashlight in your glove box, in case any accidents occur in the dark. Also, turn on your hazard lights.
- Exchange Details With Other Drivers
Once you and the other driver are both safe and your cars have been moved, make sure you exchange details with one another.
This should include your full names and contact details, along with insurer name and policy number, license plate number, the make and model of the car, and their driver’s license number.
Make sure you both also know exactly where the accident occurred– if one of you is not from the area, you may not be aware of your surroundings.
If tensions are high after the accident, try to remain calm and avoid getting upset with the other person. If it helps, ask a police officer to help manage the conversation.
Police can also file a vehicle accident report, which may be helpful for your insurance claim.
- Document the Scene
It’s always important to document the accident, but this is especially important if there is debate over who is at fault.
Take photos and videos to show the condition of your car, but also try to take photos of any road signs, traffic conditions, or other evidence that might support your claim of how the accident happened.
To help with this, many drivers install dash cams on their dashboard. In case of impact, the dashcam will record the accident, which can prove very useful.
Otherwise, just record any evidence with your smartphone. Try to take crisp, clear photos, so others can make sense of what they’re looking at.
- Talk to Witnesses
Did anyone see the car accident? If so, try to talk to them and see if they would be willing to share their contact details, in case you’re in need of any witnesses of the claim.
Witnesses are usually impartial bystanders who happened to be nearby when the accident occurred. They can explain to the police or a lawyer what happened, honestly, and can be a very valuable asset if you’re worried that you may be blamed for the collision.
A witness could be another driver, a pedestrian, or even a neighbor or employee who witnessed the accident from a window.
- Contact Your Insurance Company
As soon as you can, contact your auto insurance company to file a claim. The adjuster will be able to tell you exactly what is required to start the process.
Your insurance is there to protect you, so file right away. The payment will help to pay for repair costs to your vehicle, medical costs, and possibly any time lost from work due to pain and suffering.
Medical bills can be gigantic for anyone receiving hospital care after an accident, so make sure you get the expenses paid for by your insurer.
If you’re unsure what your policy covers, ask questions of your insurance company so you know what you might need to budget for.
- Contact a Lawyer
If you’ve been injured in a car accident, through no fault of your own, you should contact a personal injury attorney.
An expert lawyer can work with you to ensure you get everything you’re entitled to after the accident, such as compensation and treatment for injuries, pain, suffering, and wages lost due to the accident.
Call a lawyer as soon as you can to ensure they can help you with your case, every step of the way.
Protect Yourself in Case of Vehicle Accident
Now that you know what to do if you’re injured from a car accident, you can drive with confidence, knowing you’re prepared.
Hopefully, you’ll continue to save safe experiences on the road, but if anything does happen, follow the steps above. Enjoy the fun and freedom driving brings, but always act responsibly.
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