Friday, February 28, 2020

5 Steps You Should Take After Getting Into a Car Accident

No one wants to think about the possibility of getting into an accident on the road. Unfortunately, almost 1.25 million people die in vehicle-related accidents across the globe each year. Anywhere from 20-50 million people are injured by crashes. 

There are a variety of factors that can play into car accidents. In today’s “on the go” society, distracted driving is a huge problem. In fact, it’s the number one cause of car accidents, whether it’s sending/receiving a text message, eating or drinking, or talking on a cell phone that causes someone to take their concentration off of the road. 

If you do ever get into an accident, there are important steps to keep in mind. Knowing how to handle things ahead of time can better prepare you since you’re likely to feel overwhelmed and scared after the accident. It’s normal to wonder how getting injured would impact your family, or your ability to parent. You might also worry about how it will affect your job, or your overall quality of life. 

But, before the “what ifs” following an accident start to pile up, there are five crucial steps you should take to keep yourself safe. 

1. Get to Safety

If you’re physically able, the first thing you should always do following a car accident is to get to a safe place. Typically, that means pulling over to the side of the road or out of the line of traffic. Even if the accident isn’t extreme and it was just a small fender bender, getting away from other cars will allow you to get out of your vehicle safely so you can assess the damage and make sure the people in the other cars involved are all okay. 

2. If Necessary, Seek Medical Attention

If anyone is injured, even if the injuries are minor, it’s important to call an ambulance right away. Car accidents can cause many different types of physical injuries. What might just appear to be a small cut on the head could actually be a concussion. If you’re having pain in your abdomen from the impact, it could be internal bleeding. 

That’s not meant to scare you, but to keep you aware of the underlying injuries that could happen in an accident. You may not start to notice symptoms for several hours or even days later, and by that point, they can be much harder to treat. Even if you don’t think anyone was injured, it’s a good idea to get some kind of medical professional to the scene to make sure everyone is okay. 

3. Call the Police

You should absolutely talk things out with the other drivers/passengers involved in the accident, especially if no one is seriously hurt. But, even small accidents should have some kind of police involvement. 

By calling the police right away and having them assess the situation, you can avoid the other driver(s) making false claims about the accident to their insurance companies, or even to a personal injury lawyer. While it’s nice to feel like you can trust someone just through a conversation and an agreement, that isn’t always the case. Having the police involved will help to cover your bases, even if you were at fault for the accident. 

4. Document the Accident

Once you’ve exchanged information with the other driver, including their name, insurance information and phone number, you should take the initiative to document as much of the crash scene as possible. 

If there were other witnesses, write down their contact information. Take personal notes about what happened during the accident, and take as many pictures as possible with your cell phone. It’s also a good idea to get the information of any police officers involved as well as the police report number, for your insurance company. Again, it’s all about covering your bases to make sure you’re not faulted unnecessarily. 

5. Understand Your State’s Statute of Limitations

Every state has a specific statute of limitations. That means, you only have a certain amount of time after the date of an accident to make an insurance claim, or to contact a personal injury lawyer to get some kind of compensation for any injuries you sustained during the crash. 

If you don’t make any claims or take any action before the statute runs out, you automatically forfeit your right to do so in the future (as it pertains to that particular accident). 

People sometimes wait before taking any action for a variety of reasons, but you should absolutely contact a lawyer right away after an accident if you feel that you may have been at fault - even if it was only partially your doing. It doesn’t take much for another party to want compensation of some kind, so if either of you were injured in the accident and someone was specifically at fault, it’s not uncommon for the case to head to court. 

Moving Forward After a Car Accident

As you can see, there’s a lot to consider both immediately after getting into an accident, and when it comes to the long-term process of getting through it. It can be a long, drawn-out process that can take months, or even years to settle if you end up going to court. 

The most important thing to keep in mind is to take care of yourself in the process. Being as open and honest about the ins and outs of the accident will help you immediately when you’re talking to the police, medical professionals, and your insurance agency. Make sure any statements you make about the accident are clear and concise, and can’t be misconstrued or taken another way that could be used against you later. 

So, while preparing yourself for a car accident might not cross your mind each day, being informed on what to do if it ever occurs can help to keep you safe in more ways than one. Keep some of these suggestions in mind if you’re ever in the thick of an accident. Whether things end quickly with an exchange of information, or you find yourself in an ugly court battle, you can be more prepared to fight for your rights and protect yourself and your family in the process. 

No comments:

Post a Comment

Talk to me!