Automobiles are some of the most convenient ways to travel, but unfortunately, the risks and danger involved are huge, especially if you disregard traffic and road safety guidelines. For decades now, car accidents have been a leading cause of death – claiming over 30,000 lives in the U.S. and a million worldwide.
Data from the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) shows that over 6 million car accidents occur on U.S roads every year. And while a majority of those accidents involve property damage, few cause injury or fatal death to the car occupants.
It is normal for victims of car accidents to be shaken or terrified in the aftermaths of the crash, and despite that not being the ideal time to stay calm, there are certain things you should do to ensure everyone is safe, the scene of the injury is secured, and to safeguard your interests with regards to health, law, and your insurance claim process. That said, let’s highlight some of the things you should do after being in a car accident, regardless of who is at fault.
Make an accurate record
- First things first, never drive away from the scene of an automobile accident, lest it is interpreted as a hit-and-run. Stay calm and focus on protecting the scene. If your headlights are broken, protect the scene by keeping your flashers on.
- If the other party pressures you to admit fault, it would be best to stay quiet by the roadside and wait. The most important thing to remember is that your car insurance is a binding contract, and with that in mind, you should never admit responsibility for the accident as that’s will become clear after your insurance company adjuster conducts an investigation to establish who is at fault.
- Call the police even if there are no serious injuries. Besides, you may need a police report to file an insurance claim with your company.
- When the police arrive, try to recollect the events from A to Z to the investigating officer as accurately as you possibly can and to the best of your ability. If there are certain facts you are in doubt of, then it would be best to inform the officer instead of speculating on them.
- Also, try to intervene if the other party attempts to give wrong information to the investigating officer.
Focus on protecting your rights
In the aftermaths of the accident, one thing for sure is that one party is either exclusively or somehow at fault. Insurance companies, on the other hand, want to take statements in the immediate aftermaths of the accident while events are still fresh in the mind. And according to the senior counsel at Lichtenstein Law Group, consulting your attorney is perhaps the most important thing you should do in the aftermaths of a car accident. Your attorney has the expertise to protect your rights in the face of unfair interrogation, and can as well secure valuable evidence from the scene of the accident.
Furthermore, your injury attorney can advise you on aspects that range from how to claim full compensation for a damaged car, and as well make sure you access the best medical care in the event of injuries. And the better part is personal injury attorneys work on a contingency fee basis. That is, you are not obligated to pay any legal fees unless they recover compensation for injuries sustained.
Exchange your car details with the other party
You must share your car accident details as it may be required by law when sorting insurance. The following is what you can seek to share with the other party:
- Share your name and address as this is a provision in the law.
- Swap your car insurance details with them.
- Record details of the other driver and any other eyewitnesses.
- If the other driver attempts to or flees the scene, take the dashcam video footage and store it to be used later as useful evidence.
Seek medical attention
In most cases, injuries sustained in a car accident aren’t immediately apparent. The common observation is that car occupants get shaken and terrified. And while in serious cases people may suffer a concussion and go unconscious, there are certain external injuries that warrant you to seek immediate medical attention.
Accident victims feel terrified in the aftermaths, and understandably so, but that is also the most ideal time to make most of what transpired. That’s because such information is important going forward with regards to entitlement to medical care as well as filing of insurance claims. Overall, you should make an accurate recollection of what happened, and more importantly, stick to the facts. Besides, you could call your attorney to help protect you and initiate the process of compensation.