There are approximately six million car accidents in the US every year, causing countless deaths and injuries. These statistics make for harrowing reading, reminding us all of the genuine risks we face whenever take a seat behind the wheel and head out on the road.
Driving is something we do so often as part of our daily routines that we can sometimes forget these risks and dangers or almost start to feel invincible in the comfort of our own vehicles.
However, the truth is clear to see: accidents happen all the time, even to safe drivers who follow the rules, so it is vital for you to be aware of what to do and what not to do when an accident happens, as well as knowing your rights and what you’re entitled to after an accident too.
This guide will take a look at exactly what steps to follow if an accident occurs in order to get the medical help that you and your passengers might need and put yourself in the best position to make a successful insurance claim later on.
The First Steps
Initially, after an accident, the focus needs to be firmly on your health and the health and safety of your passengers too. When an accident happens, check yourself for any injuries and move slowly, as you could be suffering from whiplash or broken bones that may get worse from any sudden movements.
If you feel in pain or have difficulty moving, it is usually recommended to remain in position until help arrives. Otherwise, if you are able to do so, try and get the vehicle to the side of the road, out of the way of oncoming traffic, and then step out to a safe spot with your passengers until help arrives on the scene.
Information And Documentation
Next, as long as you are able to do so, you will want to document as much of the scene as possible. A good way to do this is by making use of your phone’s camera to snap some photos of any visible injuries you or your passengers have, as well as any damage to your vehicle and the general state of the accident site itself.
The more information you gather at the time, the stronger your case will be when it comes to making an insurance claim later on or potentially arguing your case if you need to call on the services of a car accident lawyer. Either way, having photos and witness statements will help a lot, and it is also wise to contact the police and make an official report of the incident.
You will also need to make sure that you exchange information with the other driver involved in the accident. This is a key part of the process and you will need as much information as possible to share with your insurance provider when making a claim.
Make sure you get the driver’s name, contact details, insurance information, and write down the license plate of their vehicle, as well as its make and model, just to be sure. There have been cases where drivers provide false information, so writing as much down as possible and making sure to contact the police will provide you with much-needed peace of mind.
Seek Medical Help
If you have any kind of serious injury, getting medical care should be the absolute priority after an accident, and emergency services may need to be called if the situation is severe. However, even if you do not have any visible wounds or broken bones, it is still important to visit a doctor and get a professional diagnosis.
There are many cases where the full extent of car accident injuries is not clear straight away, and sometimes, people feel relatively fine after an accident, but then start to notice aches and pains a day or two later. This is why you should avoid any kind of self-diagnosis and make sure to get a proper medical opinion on the matter.
A doctor will be able to check for signs of concussion and other injuries, as well as providing medication and recovery recommendations for you to follow. Again, all of this can be important from a legal and insurance perspective too, so it is a step that should not be skipped.
Car accidents can be very scary and stressful situations, and you should always do what you can to avoid them in general through safe, smart driving, but it’s important to know what to do, just in case an accident does happen, so you can get the best result and recovery.