Road traffic fatalities are down 1.2%. That’s the third year in a row that the accident rate has fallen. Does that mean you don’t have to worry about road traffic accidents?
Have you ever been in a car crash? It can be a traumatic experience but would you know what to do? Read on to learn 10 things to do.
1. Don’t Go
The trauma of being involved in a road traffic accident can be very upsetting. It might lead you to do things that are out of character or impulsive. You might even be tempted to leave the scene of an accident.
Do not leave the scene of a road traffic accident without fully assessing the situation. You may have legal obligations that you must fulfill. If you leave the scene of an accident without satisfying those obligations you may be committing a crime.
If there is an injury or death as a result of the accident, leaving the scene could look like you are guilty of a hit-and-run crime. Being late for a meeting or being upset are not good reasons for driving away.
2. First Aid
Assess the situation.
Check to see if you have any injuries. You may think that this is a strange thing to advise. Surely you would know if you had any injuries without having to check.
Strange as it may seem, after an accident, the adrenalin in your system has an anesthetic effect and so you may not notice that you have an injury.
Check to see if anybody else has an injury. Check your passengers, other people involved in the accident, and anybody else on the scene. If anybody needs medical attention, arrange this as a priority.
3. Safety First
A road accident scene can be a dangerous place. There may be traffic around as well as vehicles in a dangerous condition.
Consider whether you need to move any vehicles to make the situation safer. Ensure you and others are aware of the dangers and act safely in the circumstances. If you can safely do so, place warning signs around the accident site so other road users’ safety isn’t put at risk.
4. Call for Help
If there has been an injury or death or the damage to any vehicle is significant, you must call 911. You need to report this event to a police officer. Take a note of the officer’s name and number.
The officer will make a police report. You should ask for details of the report and how to get a copy. You may need this later especially if there is any dispute.
5. Information Exchange
Exchanging some information with other people involved in the accident is essential. Write down the names of any other people involved in the accident including pedestrians and witnesses.
As well as their name you should get their address and telephone number. Note down their driving license numbers and license plates. Also, make a note of their insurance details.
You should provide other people with all of your information too. Be honest with them about your details. You should not provide false details to a police officer or to other people involved in an accident.
It’s best to keep the exchange of information courteous. You need only give the information listed here. You don’t need to give any other information.
Don’t admit fault, no matter how much you are pressed to do so. You should not apologize as this could be interpreted as an admission of fault. Be courteous at all times and if pressed to admit fault simply say that it’s a condition of your insurance not to discuss it at this time.
6. Evidence Collection
When you collect information about other drivers, passengers, and witnesses you can also make further notes about the accident. Notes made at the time of the accident can be helpful later.
Memories can fade and notes taken at the time are therefore very helpful if there is a dispute later.
Make notes of the location, weather conditions, position on the road, and anything else that might be relevant. Ask witnesses to write down what they saw too and get a copy of what they write.
If your vehicle needs repairing your insurance company will assess the cost. If you wish to dispute this cost, get two estimates from independent repairers.
7. Take Pictures
Most smartphones have a camera and this can be very useful when you are involved in an accident. Take photos of the scene.
Photos of any damage, the road conditions, and the whole scene from different angles might be useful later. Make sure you can find the pictures later when you need them.
8. Report to Your Insurance Company
Contact your insurance company. Complete a report for them and provide them with all the information they need. Be completely honest with them about what happened.
The information you collected about the other parties to the accident will be useful at this stage.
9. Secure Records
Keep all the information connected with the accident in a safe place. It’s usually best to keep the information together. As additional documents or information are collected, keep them together with the records of the accident.
Some records you keep include any medical records especially correspondents, medical reports, and details of medical expenses. Keep any correspondence to and from your insurance company.
There may be an impact on you and your life after the accident. If you have any injuries, these may have an impact on your ability to work or live a normal life. Make notes about this and keep any information such as any correspondence with your employer.
10. Consult a Car Accident Lawyer
A car accident lawyer may be able to help you whether you were at fault or not. A lawyer can protect your interests in any dispute including with other parties to the accident, the police, or your insurance company. If you’ve had a personal injury from a car accident, contact a lawyer.
Car Crash Ready
If you were worried about what to do after a car crash hopefully you are less worried now. It helps to be a little better prepared. It may make the whole thing a little less traumatic.
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