Vehicular accidents can be distressful, and they often raise a myriad of questions at once: Should you move your car? Should you call the police? Should you make a claim? Read further to know what to do when you are involved in a car accident.
What To Do When You’ve Been Involved In A Vehicle Accident
Here are following steps and what to consider legally when you have been involved in a vehicle accident. This information may guide you directly in making essential decisions if you have been in an accident. After an automobile accident, take into consideration the following steps.
Step 1: Examine Yourself For Physical Trauma Or Injuries, And Check On The Welfare Of Your Passengers (If Any)
I have injuries, contact 911 or ask others to do so. If the injury is severe, try not to move, and patiently wait for emergency medical personnel. If you are not too injured to move, and you were with passengers prior the accident, try to check on them too.
If any of your passengers are injured, contact emergency services, or seek a bystander and ask them to call for assistance. Your number one priority in vehicle accidents should be your safety and that of others.
So, first and foremost, ensure that you and everyone involved is okay. Never hesitate to contact 911 especially when someone is hurt, seems groggy, unresponsive, or if you are unsure of their status. Most injuries from car accidents can be internal, so better be safe than sorry.
Step 2: Get Everyone To Safety
If you are physically able to move, relocate together with your passengers to the sidewalk or shoulder of the road. Also, try to relocate the vehicle to the side if the damages to the car are only minor. But, if there were any injuries involved or the car needs to be where it is for investigative purposes, then leave it where it is even if it’s disturbing traffic. Legally, it may even be better to discuss moving your car with your lawyer first, as their advice may be beneficial at this stage.
Step 3: Contact 911
Whether the vehicle accident is deemed a minor or major collision, contacting the police is crucial especially in some states as it is legally required. Further, make sure that you call the local police or the highway patrol. When they arrive, make sure to provide them with the following materials:
- Your driver’s license
- Your car’s registration card
- Any proof that you are accountable for the car
- Your current address in case it is different than your license information
You will also be required to fill out an accident report and present all information prior, during and after the accident. This information includes location and time of the vehicle accident, information of the other driver, and description of casualties including property damage.
Unless your lawyer is present and has told you that it is okay to do so, refrain from speaking with the other party. Be very cautious to not apologize or say anything that could imply that you’re at fault.
If possible, acquire details from the officer/s as well. If they disagree to give you a copy of the report, then perhaps get the police officer’s name, contact number, badge number, and police report number. Most importantly, never leave the scene before the officer arrives. Fleeing from the scene of the accident prior to giving reports to the police is considered a felony or misdemeanour offense in some state laws.
Step 4: Document The Vehicle Accident
To be able to protect oneself, make sure to document the scene or vehicle accident. Take note of documenting the following information:
- Identify the police officers. Once the law enforcement arrives, acquire the names and badge number of all responding police officers.
- Acquire a copy of the report. If possible, ask the law enforcers for a copy of the accident report.
- Take photographs. Take pictures of the accident thoroughly including photographs of your vehicle from various angles. Make sure to show the damages done to both cars. It may be wise to take photographs of the other vehicle’s license plate.
- Document the names. Take note all the names and addresses of all persons involved in the accident. Also, take into account the passengers from the other vehicle.
- Check if there are witnesses and talk to them. Try to check if there were any witnesses that were present during the situation. Talk to them, take note of their names and other relevant contact details.
Step 5: Notify Your Insurance Company And Begin The Claims Process
It may also be wise to contact your insurance agent while still at the scene. This way, they can exactly tell you what they need to process your insurance claim. Further, they can inform you on what you can expect during the claiming process.
Vehicular accidents can leave you extremely exhausted. But, following the steps above can help safeguard you from inessential distress. This way, you will be able to work with your insurance agent to get your vehicle repaired as quickly but smoothly as possible. Moreover, an essential thing to do after an accident is to consult with your lawyer. He/she can protect your rights and guarantee that valuable pieces of evidence are secured. You may secure the services of an auto accident attorney, such as ones found here, should you need any assistance in ensuring that everything you do in an accident is appropriate and legal.