Step Guide: What You Need To Do After a Car Accident
Being involved in a car accident is perhaps one of the most traumatic experiences one can face.
18:37 14 May 2019
Actually, most people who’ve been involved in car crashes end up experiencing post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). No one dreams of being involved in a car accident as it happens so fast and unexpectedly. As a matter of fact, a small bump may cause your adrenaline to rise and your senses to be blurred. This is why it's always important to always be on the safe side in terms of preparedness. In this piece, we will provide you with a step by step guide on what you need to do after an accident.
Step 1: Get treatment
Now, you may get involved in a minor accident and no help is available. In this case, you want to get your injuries checked before they become substantially worse. It's therefore important that you get yourself to the nearest medical facility as soon as possible. This will also help the insurance company to take care of the claim.
Step 2: Assist the wounded
If you are in a position to help anyone who’s seriously injured, do it cautiously. The best thing, however, is to call 911 or the police and request for an ambulance. While waiting for the ambulance, make the survivor/s feel as comfortable as they can be while at the same time reassuring them. It is advisable not to move the injured as this can cause further injuries.
Step 3: Secure the scene
If you are involved in an accident scene and there’s a severely injured person, it's highly advised not to leave the scene. In some states, doing this may result in criminal charges and most probably jail time and fines. At this point, turn on your hazards and ensure your safety as well as that of the other passengers. It is also advisable to light up your flares so as to direct the other road users. However, if you see or smell gas, do not set up the road flares.
Step 4: Report the accident
In many cases, you may be the only witness to the accident. There may also be a case where there are conflicting versions of what happened between you and the other driver. It's therefore important that you insist on a police investigation (which can later help you obtain compensation). In addition to this, you want to avoid scenarios where you blame for the accident. If the driver at fault doesn't want the police to be involved, then make sure that they write an admission report. As soon as you recover from the immediate shock, recount all the details of the accident to the police without guessing, misstating, or speculating. Afterward, you need to find ways of getting hold of the police report.
Step 5: Exchange information
When reporting the accident, the police will help you to exchange insurance information with the other driver. Now, you also need your own written account. So, if able, apart from the other driver’s information, be sure to get the witness’ contact information and their report, as well as the accident report number from the police. This number will be crucial in obtaining the final accident report.
Step 6: Photograph the scene
Photos can also act as evidence in court proceedings. If you are able to stand on your feet without putting your health at risk, you or someone else should take pictures of the accident scene. Ensure that all the damages as well as the license plates have been photographs have been taken. Your injuries also need to be accounted for.
Step 7: Notify the insurance company
It's very important that you notify the insurance company of the accident as soon as possible. Most insurance companies expect prompt notification as soon as the accident happens. The best thing about this step is that the insurance company will help to guide you on all the necessary steps you need to follow whether it's your fault or that of the other driver. Other important information worth mentioning to your insurance company may include the place you’ve sought medical attention, the injuries sustained, and the effect of the accident on your life.
Step 8: Call an attorney
Whether or not another person was at fault during the accident, it is always important to consult a car accident or personal injury attorney after being involved in an accident. This is especially the case where you or another party has been injured and the car sustained damages. Bert Louthian of Louthian Law Firm, P.A. Explains that because it’s often a difficult process to receive compensation for car accidents, having a professional lawyer help you through the process will take a lot of the stress from you. Depending on whether it was you or another person that was hurt (or the cars got damaged), legal counsel is always paramount. A good attorney will also represent you in court with no bias, in case the involved insurance company fails to pay your claim.
Step 9: Recover valuable possessions and repair your vehicle
You may have had important possessions with you at the time of the accident. Before the vehicles are towed off, be sure to collect any valuables that may still be inside. This is because you have no idea where they’ll be taking your car, its, therefore, a good idea to collect important things you don’t want to lose or have another person (or the police) collect them for you.
Now, when it comes to the repairs, you are advised against making any repairs without any permission from the insurance company. Nevertheless, you have the right to suggest where you would want your car repaired. In most cases, they’ll send you to an approved repairer.
Step 10: You need to be abreast with the claim
It's very important to know the progress of your claim. There are various ways to ensure that you’re always updated. First, you may personally visit your insurance offices or make a call. With some insurers, you can also find out more about your claim online. Most insurance companies are online and they’ll permit you as their client to check the status of your claim online. This will help to save you a great deal of time and resources. Apart from the online services, some insurance companies will send you text notifications informing their clients about their claim status.
Now that you know about what to do after an accident, here are a few things you should never do after an accident.
- You should never admit responsibility
- You should never leave the scene of the accident
- Never lose your cool
- Never be tempted into signing unofficial documents
- Never settle your claim with the other party’s insurance company
Given the fact that accidents are a daily occurrence, you always need to be in the know zone of things to do and things not to do after an accident. In addition to this, your reaction after an accident may considerably affect your rights. So, it's important to maintain your composure and remember, don’t be in a hurry and don’t be coerced into agreeing to shady deals.