Fun weekend or night in the ER?
Laura and her roommate were driving to their friend’s cottage for a fun weekend of swimming, hiking, and campfires. They were only an hour away from their destination when their dream weekend turned into a nightmare.
A large SUV making an illegal lane change struck Laura’s car head-on. The collided cars spun violently, throwing both vehicles off the road.
Instead of spending their weekend hiking through the woods, both women had to spend the night in the hospital because of their injuries.
Sadly, stories like Laura’s happen all the time. Every year, road crashes cost Americans a whopping total of $230 billion in injuries and damages.
If you have a driver’s license, it’s your responsibility to know what to do after an accident. Taking the right steps at the right time could save your life and keep you from losing out on thousands of dollars from damages.
Read on to learn the first 6 things you should do immediately after a car crash.
1. Get Collided Cars Off the Road
Did your car accident happen in the middle of traffic?
If possible, immediately put your hazards on and move your vehicle safely out of traffic. Should the other driver not want to move their vehicle, don’t worry about trying to convince them.
Car accidents are highly volatile situations and emotions often run rampant. While it’s okay to advise the other driver to move their vehicle, you should never argue with them to make it happen.
Your main priority is your safety and making sure yourself and your vehicle are out of harm’s way. Next, you can begin to asses the seriousness of the situation.
2. Check for Injuries
Immediately after moving your car to safety, check to see if you have any injuries.
Look in your visor mirror to see if there are any serious cuts or scrapes on your face.
If you don’t have any injuries, you’ll need to check your passengers next. Finally, you’ll want to check the other vehicle’s driver for injuries, too.
You might not be able to immediately tell if you or another person have sustained an injury. Sometimes, the shock of the accident makes it hard to tell what your body is feeling.
Be careful as you move around and avoid moving too quickly. Also, limit your movements as much as possible in case you did sustain an injury.
3. Call the Police
You should call the police even if your car accident is minor.
It doesn’t matter if you or the other driver caused the accident—you need to call the police.
Here are the benefits of calling the police:
- Insurance claims are easier
- Safer accident environment
- Coverage for injuries
If another driver hits your car, and you don’t see any damages, you might want to let them go without calling the police first.
Yet, even though you might not see any damages to your vehicle, you could still have injuries that won’t surface until later. Also, there could be damage to your car that isn’t visible right away but presents itself later.
Both insurance companies, yours and the other drivers, will want to see a copy of the police report. Without a copy of the police report, they might not be able to determine fault and as a result, they could deny your claim.
4. Gather Evidence
Taking photographs with your phone is one of the best ways to document the incident.
Here’s what you should photograph at the accident scene:
- All cars involved
- Area where the accident occurred
- Street signs
- Lane markings
- Car damage
Without a witness, car accidents can quickly become a “he said, she said” debate.
Your photographs will be the best way to prove your version of events to the insurance companies and possibly court systems.
If you end up getting a car accident attorney, they’ll be happy to see how thorough you were in documenting the accident.
5. Exchange Insurance Information
When you’re dealing with collided cars, you should always notify your insurance company.
If the other driver tells you they don’t want to involve the insurance companies, you’ll have to politely ignore their request.
What if tomorrow morning you wake up with so much back pain you can’t get out of bed? What if while you’re driving away from the accident your bumper falls off?
There are too many unknowns that could happen, and that’s why you have insurance in the first place.
Go ahead and cover all your bases by exchanging insurance information.
6. Prepare to Call Your Insurance Company
Before you call your insurance company, write down what happened before, during, and after the accident.
Doing this will help prepare you for the questions that insurance companies are bound to ask.
Here are some of the things you should write down about your accident:
- Where were you driving to before the accident?
- What lane were you driving in?
- How fast were you driving?
- How did the accident occur?
- What did you do after the accident?
- What’s the police report number?
Even if the accident isn’t your fault, insurance companies are going to ask you a lot of questions.
In many cases, they’ll record your answers and use them to help determine whether they’ll pay out your claim.
Recovering from a Car Accident
Collided cars, police, insurance companies—getting in a car accident is an exhausting experience.
On top of dealing with injuries, victims of car accidents often struggle with having to deal with high levels of stress as well. That’s why you must make sure you’re giving yourself the chance to fully recover after your car accident.
Set aside a chunk of time in your week when you don’t have to do anything that’s car accident-related.
Instead of calling insurance companies, or going to followup doctor appointments, use this section of time to take your mind off of things.
Are you dealing with the stressful aftermath of being in a car accident? Let us help you escape for a little bit and think about something else.
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