Did you know that about 1.24 million road traffic deaths happen each year?
In fact, it’s the leading cause of death among people within the age of 15-29. Men are more prone to these accidents since they make up about 75% of the total road deaths.
There are a lot of things you need to know when it comes to getting into accidents, and it’s easy to panic or lose track of important safety procedures. There are multiple events happening all at the same time. It’s especially important to know where you stand with the law.
But don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. Without further ado, this post will help you know what to do after a car accident. Read on and find out more today:
The Do’s and Don’ts After a Car Accident
Here are some of the things you need to remember when you get to a car accident:
1. Secure the Area
The most important thing you need to do when getting to a car accident is to make the area secure as much as possible. Ask yourself what you need to do and check whether you or anyone in the area need medical assistance. Make sure to call 911 as soon as you can, regardless of your circumstances.
While waiting for the authorities, you need to start applying first aid if you’re proficient with it. Don’t forget to make all the injured people comfortable. But it’s important to avoid this if you suspect that they’re suffering from any spinal or head injuries.
With everyone safe, you can now check the surrounding area. Make sure that the surrounding area looks secure to avoid another accident. It’s important to remember that secondary accidents can happen and become part of the 40,200 deaths from motor vehicle crashes.
Check the Cars’ Safety
After ascertaining the area’s security, make sure that your cars aren’t in any form of danger. Check whether your car has fuel leaking from it or if there’s debris lying on the ground. You also need to see whether the engines aren’t active since that might trigger some other accidents.
If the damage isn’t that great, you can try moving all the vehicles associated with the accident. Make sure that they’re on the side of the road. Put on your hazard lights so everyone knows about the incident and act accordingly.
Call the Police
Does the accident involve third party property damage or injuries? If so, call the police and notify them as soon as you can. It’s especially important if the owner of the damaged property isn’t at home.
You also need to call the police if you’re suspecting alcohol or drug use from the other party. It’s needed since they might end up having to restrain them if they try to escape.
2. Collect Information
The next thing you should do is to exchange your details with the other people involved in the incident. This is important for both your insurance company and your car accident attorney. You need to include these things for posterity:
- Full name
- Phone Number
- License Number
- Registration Number
- Insurance name and policy number
In an ideal situation, you’ll need to have a notepad and pen in a safe location within your car, like your glovebox. You can try taking notes on your phone if it’s still functional. The great part is that some insurance companies now offer their own mobile apps to make the accident-recording process easier.
If you have a smartphone, you can try taking photos of the accident site. Take pictures of the car wreckage, including the damage of the car as well as the ones other vehicles sustained. If third party damage exists, make sure to record that as well.
How to Deal with Difficult Drivers
Not all drivers are cooperative and will help you if you’re involved in an incident. Some of them include uninsured drivers. In this case, make sure to get their license number as well as their contact information.
Some drivers will attempt to do a hit-and-run to escape paying for any damages. If you encounter these, you need to get the car’s color, make, and model as well as their license plate number. Call the police as soon as you can, gathering as many witnesses as possible.
If you encounter a driver unwilling to give their insurance or contact information, make a call to the police. Take the necessary photos and get your hands to any form scrap of data you can find. In most cases, you’ll have their plate number at least.
3. Call Your Insurance Company
It’s important to contact your insurance company from the scene of the accident. From there, they’ll help you through the process, giving advice on your next move. The common advice of these insurance companies is to avoid admitting liability to anyone, even those uninvolved in the accident.
Remember, you’re not the one who will determine who’s at fault. You might not be in the right state of mind or missed some special circumstances involving the incident. Leave the investigation to the police and your insurance company to let them decide later on.
Don’t forget to report any incident to your insurance company, no matter how minor the damage is. It helps to protect you when the other involved parties try making a claim against you. It also helps to ensure that you’re covered when you discover further damage to yourself and your vehicle later on.
What to Say to Your Insurance Company
Lying about your accident to your insurance company is against the law. But it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t think about the information you’ll give. Answer as truthful as you can, but don’t try making guesswork on the details you barely remember.
Don’t assume the party with the blame. Give the facts as you remember and let the police handle the rest.
4. Take Care of Your Vehicle
Your vehicle will most likely sustain some damages as soon as the accident happens. But after it does, make sure to check whether it’s roadworthy. Do it before you even try driving away from the scene of the accident.
The obvious damages include flat tires or punctured radiators. But there are other damages you might not notice at first glance, like steering or brake issues. Make sure to give your vehicle a thorough check to determine whether it’s good enough for a drive.
If you think that it’s not worth driving, don’t let tow trucks talk you into taking your vehicle to their affiliated mechanic. Don’t sign a contract and ask your insurance company first. That way, you’ll get directions to an approved mechanic.
5. Don’t Fall for Staged Accidents
There are unscrupulous drivers out there that will try to stage accidents, especially when you’re driving while distracted. They do this with a particular goal in mind—to scam your insurance company for money. These fraudulent people will often try to make the accidents your fault while exaggerating the damage to their vehicles.
Your insurance company is the end victim of this type of crime. But you’ll also suffer since you will have higher premiums due to these false claims. Here are some warning signs you need to look out for:
You’re Driving in a Wealthy Urban Part of Town
Often, these criminals operate in urban areas. The main reason is that there is a lot of traffic in these places. If people are wealthier, they can make it harder for you to prevent the staged accident.
You Have a Newer, Higher-end Car
A car with a newer model will have better insurance policies compared to outdated models. It’s also worth noting that you’re more at risk if you’re living in a no-fault state. After all, your insurance company will still pay regardless of where the blame lies.
You Had to Slam on the Brakes
A lot of criminals watch cars in search of distracted drivers to victimize. If they determine that you’re not paying attention, they will suddenly hit the brakes. This forces you to risk rear-ending the vehicle if you don’t stop fast enough.
The Driver Waves You into the Lane
There are criminals out there that might put on the guise of a courteous driver. They will signal you to have the right of way. Once you’re beside them, they will speed up and try to crash into your car.
It’s a sad truth, but insurance fraud is a big criminal industry in the country. A lot of conservative estimates say that these people earn about $80 billion each year from their schemes. If you don’t want to become the next victim of this crime, make sure to stay aware of how the accident happened.
Learn What to Do After a Car Accident Today!
There are a lot of things that can happen when you get into an accident. If you don’t know what to do after a car accident, at least remember to avoid panicking. Clear your head first and make sure to survey your situation with analytic detachment.
This will help you remember the steps we laid out above. But why stop here? I have more ways to help you.
Do you need the help of a personal injury and car accident lawyer? If so, you can contact me today and I’ll help you with a free legal consultation.