What to do After a Car Accident to be Safe
Car accidents are terrifying. It leaves you in shock, and it's hard to think clearly in these moments. They do happen even to the most cautious drivers. If it happens, the first thing to do is to remain calm. This is crucial, especially regarding what to do to protect yourself, the passengers, and everyone around you.
It is easy to feel tempted and flee the scene, but don't do that. The steps to follow after a car crash are straightforward but relatively complex. Because emotions are running high, those involved make mistakes that limit their chances of receiving compensation from insurance companies.
The following steps will guide you on what to do in case of an accident.
1. Ensure Everyone is Out of Harm’s Way
This is a crucial first step, check if you're injured, if nor exit the car carefully and turn on the emergency flashers. Check others involved in the crash and see if anyone needs medical attention. If so, call 911 and an ambulance and help whenever necessary until they arrive.
Police are required on the scene even if it is a minor accident. They need to take an official statement that the insurance will likely ask for. Other things to do to ensure the safety of others include moving the vehicles away from the road if they are still operational and turning on the hazard lights. This alerts incoming vehicles and prevents further accidents; you can set flares if you have any and don't flee the scene until law enforcement clears you.
2. Swap Your Details After Assessing the Scene
Take into account what happened, and protect your rights in the process. Please take photos of both vehicles at the initial scene of the accident. Only move the cars after this is done and when it is safe. Don't apologize or say that you were wrong; it may seem rude, but admitting you are wrong will hurt you if the case goes to court. Show your concern and if anyone needs medical help, do the necessary and make sure they get to the hospital without confessing fault or guilt.
Swap contacts and insurance details with the other drivers involved; this information is crucial regarding claims related to the accident. If they don't have auto insurance, get their current contact information. Note the following details:
- The other driver's phone number, address, and name
- Their license numbers.
- Their policy number and all necessary insurance details
- Their car details (the make, model, year, and cars plate number)
- Photos of the scene and any damage to the car
- Driver’s license number
- Badge numbers and names of the police officers that were on the scene
- Accident report number
3. Establish Which Car Insurance Coverage is Available.
It depends on who is at fault and the kind of insurance each driver has. Here is a scenario where it is the other driver's fault. The other driver's insurance will cover the following:
- The damage to your vehicle, according to the other driver's limit
- Your medical care is to the limit of the other driver's bodily injury coverage. Personal injury protection is a requirement to drive in most states, but in some 'no-fault states, this can cover your medical expenses.
If the other driver is uninsured or doesn't have enough coverage to pay your bills, then underinsured or uninsured motorist coverage in your own insurance will cover it.
If it is your fault, your insurance will take care of it. If you are unsure about your rights and obligations lawyers for motor vehicle accidents are available to help you.
- Injuries sustained by the other driver and passengers. Bodily injury will be used in this case, but it won't cover for injuries the passengers in your car sustain.
- The damage to their car to the limits of the liability coverage.
- Your own car damage, depending on its current market value
- Your medical bills. It will pay for the injuries related to the crash, depending on the limits of your PIP coverage or medical payments.
4. Contact Your Insurance Company
It would help if you were the first to report the accident to your insurance company. It would be best if you did not wait too long until the other driver calls to make a claim. Telling your insurance company and giving them all the details will give them a head start in building your claim. Whether the accident seems minor, it is essential to call them. This is a crucial step because it provides protection. Sometimes the effect of an accident may take time to present itself, and the injuries may require an insurance provider way later. Failing to report may put you at risk of not getting compensation.
5. Document Everything.
You need to record everything that happened in the scene diligently. You never know; the other driver may slap a lawsuit in your face. So, this step will keep you protected. The following things should be captured. Gather and maintain the following record:
- Damage reports and receipts used for repairs of the motor vehicle.
- Any police reports related to your accident
- All medical records. It can be from the emergency room or from your doctor, relevant treatment records and hospital bills, and any other specialist you visit after the accident.
- How has the accident affected your income or work? It should show the time you took off work to go for the appointments related to the accident and how the injuries from the accident affected your job.
6. Fix The Car.
You should only fix the car after the doctor clears you. If you don't have an alternative method of transport, you can get quotes to fix the car. But be sure to talk to your insurance company or lawyer first. Otherwise, wait for the settlement to do your repairs.
Since most accident injuries don't show up immediately, it is vital to go to the hospital for a complete evaluation. You might not experience the pain immediately because of all the adrenaline or shock. Taking your time before accepting any claims from insurance companies is also essential. The amount of money they offer for a settlement is enormous, but they absolve themselves from any future cost. Before signing anything, confer with an attorney to see if it is a fair settlement.