Eight Things to Do When You’re In a Car Accident

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(Newswire.net — April 4, 2016) — No one wants to think about a time when he or she might literally come head-to-head with another vehicle. However, if you hope to recover from the incident gracefully, you’ll need to be prepared. An unexpected car accident can leave you feeling scattered, confused, and scared. Here are several things that you should do if you ever find yourself in an accident.

1. Move to A Safe Area Off of the Road

If you and your party aren’t seriously hurt, move to a safe area off of the road as soon as possible. If possible, guide your car to the shoulder, and flip on your hazard lights to alert oncoming traffic of your presence.

If the car is too damaged to move, turn on your hazard lights, and get yourself to the side of the road. If oncoming traffic doesn’t see the accident, you put yourself in even more danger by remaining in the car. 

2. Call the Authorities

Even in minor accidents, it’s always a good idea to bring the police to the scene. For starters, their expertise in these situations can prove invaluable in mediating between involved parties and keeping everyone safe.

It’s also wise to have police document and report the scene. They act as an objective party, and their report and testimony can protect you from those who wish to cheat you out of your money. 

3. Tell the Truth, but Don’t Admit Fault

When the authorities come, they’ll determine who is at fault for the accident. Be honest when describing what happens, but avoid confessing to being at fault. As a single driver in a multiple-car crash, you can’t know the whole story. The fault may only be partially yours, but if you say that it was your fault entirely, you’ll be liable to pay all of the damages. It’s best to let the authorities make an objective decision when determining what actually happened.

4. Check for Injuries

If you don’t notice being seriously hurt at first, check yourself for injuries. Sometimes, shock takes over your body, not allowing you to recognize that you’re seriously injured even though you are. It’s important to check for blood, broken bones, and other pains before moving, since trying to walk when you have a serious injury can make it worse.

If you find yourself well enough to move, check on the others involved in the accident, and determine if there’s anything you can do to help. You’ll need an ambulance right away if anyone is seriously injured.

5. Gather Information

Exchange information with all of those involved. This’ll be useful when settling insurance claims later on. You’ll need to document:

  • Driver and passenger names
  • Insurance information
  • Location of the accident
  • Names and badge numbers of any officers who respond to the scene
  • License plate numbers
  • Makes and models of vehicles
  • Contact information of eyewitnesses

6. Document the Scene

In addition to gathering information, use a camera to take photos of the accident, including the vehicles and anyone else who was involved. These will come in handy during the claim process, particularly if the other involved party gets greedy and tries to make untrue claims to collect insurance.

7. Call the Insurance Company

File your insurance claim as soon as possible. It can sometimes take several weeks for your claim to be processed, so the faster you submit it, the faster you’ll receive the necessary compensation.

8. Determine the Need for an Attorney

In some cases, you may need the help of an attorney, whether to fight the insurance company or to protect yourself from other parties involved. If the insurance company seems dismissive of your claim, or others involved in the accident begin making claims that aren’t true, call a lawyer immediately.

Knowing how to react following an automobile accident can be a lifesaver. Working your way through these steps calmly and meticulously will save you a lot of pain and stress down the road.