For most drivers, those few seconds after a vehicle accident can be shocking and utterly overwhelming. There are millions of accidents every year, most of which result in property damage. A large percentage also lead to injuries. So what should you do immediately you find out you were in an accident? How do you protect yourself and people around you to ensure proper claims? The list below will help you with your claim, and could save your life if you are ever in another auto accident. So read on to find out more!
No matter how minor you may think it is, never drive away from the scene of an accident. Stop the vehicle immediately and turn off the engine. This is best practice in terms of meeting the obligations of your insurance. It also ensures that any damage you may not have seen, or may not yet have felt, is not exacerbated. Try as much as possible to remain calm by taking deep breaths. Being in shock after a vehicle accident is normal, as is getting angry! But take a second to pause and take stock of the situation as best as you can.
Check for Injuries
This step could be critical to the health of anyone who was involved in the accident. Check yourself for injuries, first. Then check other passengers to ensure that everyone is safe. In the worst case scenario where someone has stopped breathing, or needs immediate medical assistance, you should try to perform CPR and revive them. If there is severe bleeding, apply pressure. If you know nothing about first aid try to find somebody who does.
Call the Emergency Services
Whether someone has been injured or not you need to call the police. If you are not certain any injury is critical or not, call the ambulance. Calling the police, no matter the situation is also vital because you might need a police report to file claims with your insurance company. They will help ensure that the accident scene does not put others at risk. Most times, accident scenes pose great danger, especially for oncoming and unsuspecting vehicles. If possible, park the vehicle at a safe distance and put on your hazard light to warn oncoming motorists. You may also decide to place warning triangles in each direction of the incident, if you happen to have them in the trunk.
When you are involved in a vehicle accident, it’s hard to remember every tiny detail. You need to collect all the information you can, to help you when a dispute arises. The most important information you need to write down includes:
- Names and contact information of drivers and passengers
- Vehicle descriptions, including make, model, and year
- License plate numbers
- Driver’s license numbers
- Insurance companies and policy numbers
- Names and contact information of eyewitnesses
- The accident scene location and address
- Police officer’s name and badge number
- Driving condition including weather, lighting, and road quality
- Any injuries to pedestrians, drivers, and passengers
In addition to this, you should also make use of your cellphone to take pictures and record video of the accident itself, if it is safe to do so. Don’t sign any document unless for police or insurance. Don’t tell anyone the accident is your fault even if you think it is.
File a Claim
Phone your insurance company at the time of the accident. They will send out a representative to respond to your situation. Even if you don’t want to claim, still inform your insurer. Sometimes, the other driver may be at fault, especially after a rear-end collision. The best way to help your insurance company determine fault is to present them with a thorough explanation of what happened during the accident.
Personal injury claims by you or any injured passengers will also need to be filed. In this situation, your insurance company will assign a claims adjuster to get the claims process going. The claims adjuster will have to review the police report, medical attention after the accident, and pre-existing injuries. Also, statements made to other drivers, witness testimony, photographs, and other records will also be subject to investigation. This is why the most important thing after an accident is the collection of information.
Get Medical Help
After an accident, shock may make you feel- well, fine. That doesn’t mean that you’re okay and good to go. Get medical help even if you think you are okay. Delayed medical attention might lead to severe issues or may mean you need to take a longer period to recover from an unseen injury. In fact, the longer you wait to get medical attention after an accident the more difficult it is to prove that accident is the cause of the injury. Even if the accident involved only minor impact, you could have sustained an injury to your spinal cord. If you were dazed for even a short while, get checked for possible closed head injury or concussion.
Keep a File for Accident Issues
Accident claims and other issues related to it may take some time to resolve. This is why you should have a file that has everything relating to the accident, set aside. The file should have contact information of all the people involved in the claims, receipts, and expenses incurred.
Know Your Rights
Inform your attorney after an accident to ensure protection against any legal actions. Your attorney will also be able to advice you on getting the best compensation and medical treatment. They can also help you get the best deals for your personal injury claims.
So: now that you know everything you need to know, why not give us a call? One of our helpful operators would love to hear about your case and point you in the right direction!