How to Handle Yourself in a Car Accident
No matter how skilled you are as a driver, you still might get into a car accident one day. Knowing how to handle yourself in a car accident is just as important as doing your best to not get into an accident in the first place. Your skills and knowledge at the scene of an accident might be all that stands between you and serious injury, legal troubles and financial hardships. Here’s everything you need to know about dealing with the aftermath of a car accident to help ensure everyone involved is kept safe and prepared for any legal repercussions and insurance claims that arise.
Move the Car to a Safe Area
Even if everyone involved in the accident is physically unharmed, the danger is still present. Cars sitting in the middle of the road or even the breakdown lane are hazardous to other drivers. Your car may have also settled in a dangerous spot such as a body of water or the edge of an overhang. If you’re able to, move the car to a safe spot off the road in a dry and flat area. Once that’s done, get out of the vehicle and ensure any other vehicles are also secured in a safe spot if it’s possible to move them.
Evacuate Everyone from the Vehicles and Check for Injuries
The cars themselves are also hazards, especially if they’re on fire or leaking gasoline. Assist everyone in getting out of the vehicles and to a safe spot off the road. If there are people too injured to be moved or if there’s a possible back, neck or spinal injury, don’t move them. You might make the injury even worse. Wait for emergency services. Only move them if you believe they’re in immediate danger if they stay where they are. If you choose to move, do it as slowly as possibly and very carefully.
Once everyone is in a safe spot, check for injuries. Some people may be very obviously injured, but others are harder to spot, especially if the victims are still in shock and have plenty of adrenaline pumping. Ask if anyone has a first aid kit or medical training at the scene to provide temporary medical attention to anyone who is injured.
Emergency services should be called as soon as you’re able to do so. Ideally, in a big wreck, get someone who is relatively uninjured to call while you and other victims try to get to safety or perform first aid. If there are only a few people or if you’re alone, you should wait until you’re in a safe spot and have assessed any injuries. Even if the accident is very minor and there are no injuries and minimal to no damage, it’s still a good idea to call the police.
Talk with the Other Driver and Collect Information
If everyone involved in the wreck is mostly unharmed and in a safe area, talk with the other driver and discuss both the circumstances of the crash and any relevant technical information. It’s a good idea to either write down notes or, with their permission, record the other driver as they convey this information for the sake of any legal issues or insurance claims that arise.
Information both parties should relay to each other is;
- Phone number
- License plate number
- Insurance information
- The makes, models and years of the vehicles involved
Do not admit fault or get into discussions or arguments about fault. If you do, it could be used against you in your insurance claims, their insurance claims or any lawsuits that might arise as a result of the accident.
Take Pictures of the Auto Accident & Auto Repairs Needed
Written information is very important, but photographs contain much more conclusive information than a report ever could. Pictures allow legal representatives and insurance agents to get a visual confirmation of the damage to each vehicle, and they may even provide evidence for liability in the wreck.
Take as many photos as you can of both vehicles from numerous angles. Get closeups of specific points of major damage as well as stickers that confirm information about the vehicle and the license plates. Photograph the road itself and any skid marks or indentations. Take a wide shot of the entire crash site to note positions and distances. Get shots of any visible road signs and mile markers to establish exact location. You may also want to take pictures of any visible injuries. Police can assist you in taking pictures of your injuries if you require hospitalization.
File a Claim with Your Auto Insurance Company
Call your insurance agent as soon as you’re able to do so. They will help walk you through the claims process. Give them all of the facts that you were able to collect about the accident. If possible, have the officer who responded to your accident give a statement or report to the insurance company. Information offered by police is usually considered to be very accurate, thorough and unbiased. Remember, you are not obligated to use the repair show that the insurance company recommends. Contact the best auto body repair show in Ogden, Utah to get your own repair estimate. Collision Centerz works on your behalf with all major insurance companies.
Contact Your Attorney
This step might seem unnecessary, especially if you don’t believe any lawsuits will occur, but it’s still a good idea to contact your lawyer about the accident. They can help prepare a case if you wish to file a lawsuit or one is being drawn against you, and they can assist you in dealing with your insurance company on your claims as well as the other party’s insurance company regarding their claims if they feel the need to involve you.
Car accidents are some of the most frightening moments of our lives, but you don’t have to stay afraid. Arming yourself with the knowledge of how to handle an accident will allow you to keep yourself, your passengers and everyone else on the road as safe and prepare you for any legal and/or insurance-related issues that may arise.