What Should You Do After a Motor Vehicle Accident?
Getting into a motor accident is never a pleasant experience, even if it isn’t so severe. The cost of repairs, dealing with insurance, or even experiencing mild discomfort such as whiplash or other aches and pains as a result of the collision is stressful and frustrating. However, these incidents can happen and it’s important to know what steps you should take after the event occurs. Below is a brief guide on what you should do if you’re ever involved in a motor vehicle accident.
Turn Off the Engine and Switch on Your Hazard Lights
The most immediate action you should take following a collision is to switch off your engine and turn on your hazard lights. This will reduce the chance of the engineoverheating, which could result in fires, explosions, or any other damage. You should then check yourself and any other passengers in the car for injuries, and all get out of the car if you’re able to.
Get Medical Treatment
Some motor accidents can cause serious injury or, in the most unfortunate of circumstances, fatalities. If you are unfortunately involved in a severe accident and can call the emergency services for help, this is one of the first actions you should take. Even if your injuries seem mild, you should still seek medical attention as soon as you can to make sure that there aren’t any more serious problems that could arise at a later time as a result of the accident. Your doctor will give you a full physical examination, and be able to prescribe you painkillers or refer you to a specialist for further treatment if necessary.
Document the Scene
If there isn’t a need for emergency medical attention or the police at the scene of your accident, you should document the scene straight away. Take pictures of the damage on your phone so you can send these to your insurance provider and help build a case for your claim. You should also try to get a photo of the other car’s license plate to make sure you have that information documented correctly, and in case the other driver gives you false information. You should also documentwhether or not anyone else involved in the accident has been injured. If they haven’t, having evidence that they said they were OK at the scene could help you if they later try to claim they have been injured as a result. You might want to record these exchanges on your phone as well, so that you can prove what was said at the scene.
Don’t admit guilt or blame until you are certain of what happened to cause the accident in the first place, otherwise, you might make yourself vulnerable to liability when you shouldn’t be.
Call the Police
If the accident was severe, the police will arrive on the scene to keep other traffic away from the crash site and to investigate. Other times you should call the police are if the other driver leaves the scene without giving you any information, if the other driver appears to be under the influence, or if you believe they caused the collision intentionally. If you see no immediate need for the police at the scene of the accident, you should still report it to them within 24 hours (or as soon as possible); note that in some states, this is the law. You can use the police report to help with your insurance claim.
Contact Your Insurance Provider
It’s best to call your insurance provider at the scene of the collision if you can, as this way you can find out exactly what they need from you and get all of that data recorded accurately. Some people might want to wait until they get home, especially if they are shaken up by the experience or have had to go to a hospital straight away for treatment, but if you’re able to call them then and there, this is best. You can start the claims process quickly and hopefully get it resolved promptly, too.
Consider Legal Action
For more serious situations or if you want to dispute issues with your insurance, you may need legal representation. Find attorneys such as Brown &Crouppen who specialize in personal injury and cover motor vehicle accidents. They will be able to advise you on the best course of action to take and could help you win compensation if you’re entitled to it, which can help pay for any medical fees or other expenses that have been incurred as a result of the accident.
Whether you have suffered a physical injury or not, a motor accident can leave a lot of people dealing with shock and PTSD afterwards. Perhaps you are overcome with anxiety when you think about getting back behind the wheel, or maybe witnessing someone else being injured or dying at the scene has left you feeling depressed or struggling to sleep. If you are struggling mentally and emotionally after the accident, seek professional help from a counselor to help you move past the event and come to terms with what happened.
How to Avoid an Accident
Accidents by nature are events that happen out of the blue and aren’t intentional, and although you might not be able to entirely avoid them, there are steps you can take to help reduce your chances of being involved in a collision. Smart technology for your car, including adaptive cruise control and lane departure warning systems, can help you to be in more control of your vehicle, and dashboard cameras can also help you to record information if you do get involved in an accident. If you don’t have these features in place currently, consider investing in them to help you be a safer driver.
Hopefully, this won’t happen to you, but all drivers will likely be involved in at least one minor motor accident at some time in their life. If you do find yourself in that situation, follow the steps above to make sure you’re doing everything right, and consider other ways in which you can make your vehicle safer to drive.