A few steps for you to follow when involved in a car accident
Many of us think on the principle that “this couldn’t happen to me”. But what if it does? A car accident could be a stressful and traumatising experience, so it’s better for you to be prepared to take action in this type of circumstance.
Here is a list with what you can do in case of car accident that could help you in the future.
- Calm down: After an accident you may feel scared, shocked, disoriented, guilty or angry. Take a big deep breath and try to relax so you can deal with the situation better.
- Check yourself and your passengers for injuries: If you have neck pain, it is safer for you not to move if the surroundings are safe because you may have spine injuries. If you are slightly injured and you can move, call for the ambulance and wait in a secure spot. This step could also be applied to your passengers or other drivers involved in the accident.
- Do not leave the scene of the accident: Even if you caused the accident or not, leaving the scene could bring you trouble. The sanctions vary from state to state and could consist in fines between $5,000 and $20,000, imprisonment for up to 15 years or the suspension of your driving license.
- Call the police: This step will help you to have an official record of the accident, which can protect you in case the other party sues you. In some states, calling the police when involved in an accident is mandatory. Don’t forget to ask the name and badge number of the police officer who arrives because your insurance agent or lawyer may need them.
- Move your car: If you can safely drive the car or push it, move it away from the oncoming traffic. If you can’t move it, turn on the hazards lights and set up cones or flares.
- Document the accident: For your own protection, the Insurance Information Institute (III) recommends the drivers to identify the police officers, get copy of the accident report, take pictures of the damage done to both cars, take names and contact information of all parties involved, talk to witnesses and also write down their names and contact information.
- Exchange information with the other drivers involved in the accident, from contact information, model and year of the car, licence plate number, to all the insurance information (insurance company, policy number etc.) Never give your home address, never give your social security number and never let the other driver take photos of your driving licence.