What to Do After a Car Accident
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, almost six million car accidents happen every year in the United States.
The severity of these motor vehicle collisions ranges from minor fender-benders to ones leading to death and disability. Around one in three auto accidents involve the drivers of passengers, with two in ten car wrecks causing fatal injuries. Whether the damages are substantial or not, it leaves you shaken up and scrambles your senses.
Although the injuries statistics are relatively low, they are still significant enough for everyone to educate themselves on what to do if and when they find themselves in such an unfortunate situation.
With adrenaline rushing through your veins, it’s pretty common to make blunders in the procedures that follow. So what should one do after a motor vehicle accident? Well, let’s find out!
What To Do At The Scene Of The Accident
There are many things one should do at the scene of an accident. From calling the police to tending to the injured parties or even starting the process to file an insurance claim, there is much to do after a car wreck. But what should one do first? How to go about the entire process so one doesn’t miss out on anything? We will tell you some of the essential things you should keep in mind when involved in an auto accident. Let’s get started!
Stop And Preserve The Scene
The first thing one should do when involved in an accident is to stop. Whether it’s a minor scratch on the trunk or a severe collision, it is always recommended to stop and wait for the police to arrive. This way, the police officers can witness the scene clearly and understand the situation better, so they can save you from any liabilities in the future if you were not at fault.
Another thing one must do is preserve the scene with the help of traffic cones or flares, if available. Otherwise, use your car’s indicators to warn others of a site of the accident. In case of damage to the lights, using a torch is a good idea until help arrives, especially at night.
Call The Police
While calling the police may seem like a hassle in minor auto accidents, it is an integral part of the procedure. The police document all the damages, including personal injuries, and get an idea of whose mistake caused the car wreck. This step will help you immensely when filing an insurance claim, whether for your car or the people within. The police will record all the details of the car accident, which will help protect you against any false statements.
If you’re not suffering from any severe injuries from the accidents, make sure to record everything on your phone.
You can do this by taking pictures and videos of the car, any personal damages, and how the accident occurred. Once the police arrive, make sure to give them an accurate record of everything that happened, to the best of your ability at that moment. If your brain is fuzzy and you are unable to recall exact details, tell the police that instead of providing descriptions that may not entirely be true. If you can not pinpoint injuries, tell them that. Pains and bruises often appear at least 24 to 48 hours after the accident.
Obtaining relevant information from the concerned parties is the job of the investigating officer. However, if there’s a delay in the police response or if a witness has to leave the scene for some reason, make sure to obtain their names, addresses, and contact details so the authorities can get in touch with them at the time of legal proceedings.
Another critical piece of information that one should collect is the insurance detail. All of this data is entered in the police report and utilized in determining the party at fault and the hurt party.
Inform The Insurance Company
Most insurance companies have the policy to be informed of any car accidents within a given time frame.
When the car wreck is reported in the allotted time, the benefits provided by the company are better and more extensive than when an insurance company is involved as a last resort. Many insurance companies that offer automobile insurance also have a feature called med-pay. Medpay allows you to submit your hospital bills for treating any injuries obtained during a car accident to the company, which will then reimburse you.
File A Claim
Perhaps the most crucial step in the process after a car accident is filing an insurance claim.
Many insurance companies now allow you to file a claim online, so you do not have to waste any time. However, if you’re unable to do it online, contact your insurance provider or the agent and report the incident. This step will make the entire procedure relatively smooth and easy. Additionally, the insurance provider can send their representatives to take into account all the damages and reimburse you sooner too.
Staying Safe During (And After) An Auto Accident
While many people are disoriented after being involved in an auto accident, you must gather your bearings and start documenting everything methodically. This rule, of course, only applies when you or fellow passengers have not suffered severe life-threatening injuries, in which case, calling an ambulance and providing first aid should be the priority. Once that is done, you can follow through with the rest of the formalities.