Accidents happen all the time. One of the most significant contributors to these accidents is faulty old vehicles that fail to respond correctly in emergencies. According to the Nest, the average age of all vehicles on the road is around 11 years. Fortunately, most of them only involve damage to the vehicles and not occupants. However, in rare cases, car accidents may involve injuries to drivers or passengers. Accidents can be traumatizing, and no one wants to be in that situation. What you do the first few seconds and minutes after the accident can determine the outcome of everything.
From saving your loved ones and third parties to creating a safe scene and preventing other accidents, acting fast can help improve the situation and simplify the accident assessment and claim process. So, what exactly should you do after an accident? Are there things you should not do? This post will help you learn how to avoid further mistakes.
1. Stop and Check for Injuries
Never move away from the accident scene, no matter how minor it is. You want to ensure you are calm and check if you’re injured before checking your passengers. If you’re safe, check with the occupant in the other car to see if they’re okay. Call 911 or ask someone else to do so if there are any injured parties. If you’re seriously injured, don’t move. Wait for emergency personnel.
2. Protect the Scene
The next step you need to take is to protect the scene of the accident by preventing other accidents. You can set up road flares or keep your hazard on. This helps warn other vehicles of an accident as you wait for the police to arrive. If you’re on a highway, assess your situation before going out. If you’re in a blind spot, turn on the hazard if they’re working and get out of the vehicle immediately. Stay as far as possible from the scene of the accident. If the car is in good condition and drivable, move it to the side to prevent traffic jams.
3. Call the Police and Report the Accident
If you are not at fault, the other party may try to persuade you to solve the issue without involving the police. Do not accept such offers. Remember, at this point, you don’t really know how bad the damage to your vehicle is, meaning you can easily underestimate it. Even if the accident appears minor, call the police and wait for them. In some states, this is a requirement. The officers will fill out the accident report form and document the scene. Be sure to note the name of the officer who attends to you. You may need this information if you go to court.
4. Document the Accident
Take photos and videos of the scene, including the two vehicles, the damage, the area where the accident happened, and the witnesses. Get the names and contacts of the witnesses, as you may need them when the case goes to court. Get the names of the other driver and talk to the witnesses. Record the conversation and keep it safe. You may want to prepare for a case if it’s a major accident. This is mainly if you sustained severe injuries that cause temporary or permanent disability or the other party failed to comply. According to the state of Massachusetts, there’s a 30-day window after conviction to file a notice of appeal.
5. Notify Your Insurer and Start the Claim Process
Call your insurance to inform them about the accident. Have all your personal information with you to make the process smooth and fast. Your insurance company will inform you about what they need to process the claim. According to the insurance journal, 30 percent of car insurance claims involve the windshield. You may need to send the pictures and videos you took, and a claim representative will be assigned to help you through the claim process.
Knowing what to do after an accident can help you save lives and prevent further damage. Make sure you also learn the process of filing a claim. If you have any questions, feel free to do more research.