While we’re driving, we all hope for a trouble-free journey without incident, but accidents can and do happen, unfortunately. Indeed, there are more than six million car accidents per year in the US alone, so the chances are statistically pretty high that you’ll have a crash eventually. However, if you’re involved in a car accident, you should take some important steps – whether the accident was your fault or not.
Below are some tips you should follow in the worst-case event of being involved in a crash while you’re driving.
Never drive away
You should never simply drive away from an accident – no matter how minor or seemingly insignificant. Just because you or your car appear undamaged, you can’t be sure about the other vehicle, driver, or passengers. Also, driving away from a crash could have serious legal implications.
Make other drivers aware
It’s vitally important that you make other drivers aware of the accident to prevent another crash from occurring. At least leave your lights on and indicators flashing but if you have a warning triangle or similar, put it on the road a good way ahead of the scene of the incident.
Contact the police
You should contact the authorities as quickly as possible – regardless of whether there are any injuries. Your insurance company will likely need to see a police report to cover any costs (personal injury or to your vehicle). Ideally, you should leave the vehicles involved where they are until the police arrive – unless they are causing a serious risk to other road users.
Be sure to take pictures of the vehicles and any injuries
Pictures will help with your case further down the line, so you should take shots of the vehicles involved, plus any injuries.
Obtain and exchange personal details
You should ask for the name and address of the driver and any passengers in the other vehicle – and provide the same. You should also exchange insurance details. If you notice witnesses at the scene, you should take their details as this kind of evidence could prove invaluable later. Normally the police will request these details anyway but, should they arrive late or fail to turn up, you’ll be thankful for having copies of this information.
Get in touch with your lawyer and insurance company
Many insurance providers insist you contact them immediately in the event of an accident, so you should contact your insurance company asap. You should also contact a car accident attorney as early as possible – particularly in larger or more serious incidents. Also, if your insurance company is asking for statements, you should refrain from saying anything until you’ve sought legal advice from an attorney
Go to hospital
In serious accidents, you won’t have any choice about attending hospital, but even apparently minor crashes can cause head impacts, damage to the spine, concussion, whiplash, etc. Often the symptoms of more common injuries go unnoticed at the scene and only manifest themselves a few days later. If you have even the slightest doubt about being injured, seek medical attention asap.