What To Do In An Accident
Unfortunately, each year thousands of people are involved in traffic accidents. In spite of relentless efforts to increase road safety and awareness about preventive measures, the human and economic burden of car accidents increases steadily.
However very few people know precisely what to do in the aftermath of a collision. This knowledge is very important. It can help prevent further injuries, minimize costs, and facilitate further actions relevant to insurance matters and repairs.
Whether it is simply a bump in the parking lot or a more serious accident where people are injured, taking the right actions immediately can save lives and improve the outcome for everyone involved.
Additionally, not following the right procedure could cause your insurance company to face difficulties paying your claims. You should also be aware that if you do not follow the proper procedures, you may end up having problems with the law, and have consequences and fines to pay.
You should be able to follow the right steps so that when you file police reports and when you file for insurance compensation, no unwanted omissions or obstacles appear.
If you are involved in car accident, the first important thing is to try to stay calm and focused.
Always having first aid supplies and an emergency kit in your car is a good precautionary measure. Flares, a bright orange or yellow vest, a cell phone, and a disposable camera are objects that can provide great help and is good to have them in your car with you. Pen and papers are also necessary items that you may have in your glove compartment. This will allow you to make notes.
Information that you should collect include:
- The names, phone numbers, and addresses of all drivers, passengers, and witnesses involved in the accident
- License plate numbers, driver’s license numbers
- Insurance companies of all drivers involved
- Registered owners of all cars
- Year, model, make and other relevant information of all cars involved
- Names and badge numbers of police officers and other emergency personnel
If you are in a moving vehicle when an accident occurs, immediately and safely pull over to the side of the road. Turn off your car and turn on your hazard lights.
Check to see if anyone is hurt. If there is an injured person, do not move them until you take standard first aid measures. Try to help injured persons if you are trained in administering first aid.
Place flares, cones, or triangles alongside the road before and ahead of the accident so that passing traffic will be aware of the accident and therefore more attention will be provided to avoid more accidents.
You or somebody else should call the police if there is an accident involving injury or substantial damage to property. Stay at the scene of the accident until a police officer tells you that you can leave. If you are not sure about the damage caused, or are unsure whether or not to report the accident, it is best to call the police. Leaving the scene of an accident can be illegal, so you should consider carefully before you act.
When informing the police about the accident, you should tell them about injured people and, if possible, the number of them. This will allow the police to mobilize enough emergency personnel to provide all aid necessary.
You can also photograph the scene of the accident so that you will have documentation about the damage to all vehicles. Try to get an overall picture of the accident so that your claims later will be facilitated.
Take notes of what you think happened and caused the accident. In your description you should include the location where the accident occurred and, if possible, the road conditions, speed limits, traffic control devices, the weather, and visibility.
Try to avoid discussing what happened with anyone else except the police. Limit yourself in only describing facts. Do not make accusations and do not say that it was your fault.
Even if you think that you are at fault, do not admit liability. It is possible that there are unknown factors to you that played a role. This could make the situation different from what you initially perceive. Comments that you may make could be counterproductive or even used against you later.
Immediately report the accident to your insurance company and to the police with respect to your insurance policy provisions and the relevant law.
In all cases the driver must carry his/her insurance certificate.
In case of an accident the insured and the authorized driver must report and submit a written deposition (claim form) to the insurance company no later than 48 hours after the accident.
If you have or suspect that you have an injury, visit a hospital or a doctor immediately. This will allow you to get proper medical care if you need it and it may also have legal implications later.
If you cannot prove that you suffered injury at the accident with a medical report from a doctor that examined you immediately after the accident, you may face difficulties for your claims as well as in litigious cases with the other drivers.
By following these simple steps, you will be able to keep the accident scene as safe as possible, ensure that nobody else is injured, harmed or more damaged after the accident, and protect your rights.
Knowing in advance how to proceed when involved in any type of car accident helps you stay calm, take the appropriate measures and make the best possible of a difficult, dangerous, or even tragic situation.