Car accidents are some of the most terrifying occurrences. People are injured every day across the country in car accidents that range from simple fender-benders to serious accidents in which major injuries and even death occur. When people leave their home in the morning, they don’t expect to be involved in a car accident. You might assume you’re just as safe in your car as you are at home, but the simple truth is you are not. While you certainly never want to be involved in a car accident, it’s helpful to be prepared for one if it does happen. You might just find it’s easier to handle if you know the proper steps to take following an accident.
1- Move the Car if Possible
If your vehicle is moveable, move it off the road and onto the shoulder. It’s dangerous to keep your vehicle in the middle of the road, and it’s even more dangerous to stay in the car when you’ve been involved in an accident. Get out of the way and get out of the car. If your car is too damaged to move, get out and move yourself to a safe location if you are able to move.
2- Call the Police
One of the biggest mistakes people make when they are involved in an accident is assuming someone else already called the police. Call them yourself and report the accident. Chances are good someone else already did this for you, but you can never be too careful. Another excellent piece of advice is to call even if you assume the damage isn’t bad enough to warrant a call. It’s always worth calling to have a police report on hand for insurance and potential lawsuit purposes.
3- Follow Instructions
While you’re on the phone with the police, do precisely what they tell you to do. If they ask you to do something, do it. If they ask you not to do something, don’t do it. They know the process, they know how things go, and they know how to best advice victims on what to do next. This kind of situation is difficult to deal with when there is confusion and fear playing a role in your feelings, and it’s even more difficult when you don’t listen to the instructions provided by the police.
4- Don’t Speak to the Other Driver
Your insurance company wants you to do them a favor and say nothing to the other driver. The problem here is too many people say things that might get them in trouble when it comes to their claims. If a witness overhears you tell another driver you are sorry about the accident even though it was their fault, they might report that to the police. If it goes on the report, it alludes to guilt on your part. That could be all it takes for the at-fault driver’s insurance company to deny your claim on the basis that their driver is not the only driver at fault.
The best thing you can do is see if anyone is injured, check for dangerous situations, and follow instructions. Stay away from the other driver while you call your insurance company and wait for the police to arrive. That’s when you give your statement to them and to no one else.
5- See the Doctor
You can speak to the medics at the scene when they arrive if you have immediate injuries. They’ll either take you to the hospital or check you out at the scene. If you don’t have any apparent or visible injuries, you should still make an appointment to see your doctor within a day of the accident. It’s entirely possible you’re suffering from some internal injuries that might be more dangerous to your health than you imagined.
It’s always better to be safe, and that means seeing the doctor. It’s also helpful for insurance reasons to have an immediate check-up. There’s a lot to focus on following an accident, which is why it’s helpful to know what to do prior to your involvement. Hopefully, you never need this information. If you are involved in an accident, this might be just what you need to remain calm and properly handle the situation.