Car accidents have become more common and when they occur, they can leave you numb – unable to think straight. Whether you experience physical injuries or only property damage – the whole ordeal can be quite stressful and most drivers are not sure what steps to take immediately after the crash.
Of course, having the know-how of what to do immediately after the accident may not only protect you financially but also keep you sane throughout the process. Therefore, here is a list of things one is recommended to do after meeting an accident:
Stop and stay calm
The first thing to do after an accident is to STOP. As much as you want to, it’s an offense to drive away from the scene of the accident. So take deep breaths, remain calm and if you are able to – pull your car to the side of the road to avoid the advancing traffic. Put up flares or turn on your emergency lights to divert the oncoming traffic.
Check your car and the one you bumped into to make sure everyone in both the cars is okay. For any major injuries, call an ambulance immediately. Don’t make the effort of transporting any badly injured person yourself. If someone doesn’t show visible signs of being physically injured but is unconscious, send them off to the nearest medical center immediately as it can be a sign of internal injury which can impact both you and the affected person legally and financially.
Whether the accident is minor or major, the police should be notified as soon as possible. Police reports come in handy when filing for insurance claims, so make sure you don’t leave the accident site until the authorities arrive.
While waiting for the officials to arrive, exchange important information such as names, phone numbers, driving license numbers and insurance policies with the other driver. Moreover, during this time, don’t blame the other driver or put yourself at fault. This should only be discussed with your attorney or police officer and anything you say now may be used against you in the future, which is something you certainly don’t want.
Also, don’t sign any document given by the other party. Sometimes, when the other party is at fault, they will try to waiver a deal with you to avoid legal consequences. However, no such deals should be made, especially without your lawyer’s consent.
It is also a good idea to talk to eyewitnesses if there are any around and take statements from them. You can also take pictures of both the cars from various angles. Those might come in handy for insurance claims in the future.
Give accurate statements
When the police officers arrive, make sure you give an accurate statement about what happened at the time of accident. There are chances of you being groggy and not being able to recall information accurately. Nevertheless, try to give the statement according to the best of your ability.
In any case, don’t speculate or take any guesses. If you are unsure about certain facts, just let the officer know and say “I’m not sure”.
Any wrong statement you make at this time can put you in a disadvantage, so it’s better to remain quiet if you are doubtful about certain events.
After the recording procedure is complete, make sure to take a copy of your statement from the police officer for future proceedings.
Related reading: Prepping Your Car for an Emergency Escape
Notify your insurance company and legal advisor
Perhaps the most important thing you can do after an accident is to protect yourself and your family, especially if you are involved in a major accident and you or another person has suffered physical injuries. Although insurance companies are helpful in this regard, your attorney is the best person to guide you. He or she can correctly tell you how you can be fully compensated for the damages occurred to your vehicle as well as any injuries sustained by you or the other passengers in your car.
The person you talk to at the company will guide you through the process of filing a claim. The customer representative will also tell you things you shouldn’t do like admit any fault or sign any document that hasn’t been reviewed by your attorney or insurer.
Seek medical attention
Often, injuries caused by a car collision are not immediately apparent. Most individuals complain about pain a day or two after the accident. Sometimes, internal injuries also occur from a minor accident which if not treated at the right time can become life-threatening.
Unless you are absolutely sure that you are not hurt, you should seek medical attention by visiting the local emergency room or your family physician.
Relax once you are home
Once you are home from the shocking ordeal, try to relax as much as possible. Having anxiety after a car accident is common and somewhat normal as well. You may keep having flashes of the whole scenario even after you are home. You are likely to have nightmares as well, especially if the accident was a major one.
The best way to recover from the stressful event is to take care of yourself. Be gentle and don’t blame yourself for the incident. Eat well and drink plenty of water. You should even consider having a soothing cup of herb tea to calm down those nerves and have a stress-free sleep.
Car accidents are usually sudden and totally uncalled for. Even the most careful driver can get into an unexpected crash. An accident can cause ruin an otherwise good day, and the impact it can have on your wallet is another story altogether. Being prepared will not only help you deal with the unexpected situation but will also make it easier for you to handle the scenario well.
Article written by Evie Harrison for Prepper’s Will.