According to a recent report from the Federal Highway Administration, almost 280 million vehicles now grace America’s roadways, and that number grows every year. With so many vehicles in motion, the odds of being in an accident are surging. To make matters even more precarious, studies show that distractions, carelessness, and a lack of knowledge of traffic safety and rules of the road are becoming more prevalent. At this point, joining other vehicles on the road could be considered a dangerous endeavor.
Accidents can happen anywhere and at any time. Unfortunately, most people find they have no idea what to do in those critical moments following a crash. With that in mind, learning what to do before an accident actually takes place is recommended. Study the following steps to take if you’re in a car accident, so confusion won’t add to the chaos when you’re faced with such a situation.
Get Medical Care
Seeking medical care should be your first priority after an accident. If anyone involved in the crash is injured, call 9-1-1 immediately. Considering modern technology, your car or phone may even cover that step on your behalf if it senses a crash. Otherwise, you’ll need to get emergency responders en route.
If you don’t think you’re seriously injured, it’s still a good idea to visit the emergency room or your doctor after an accident. Remember, adrenaline can have significant effects on people following a crash. Some people have sustained potentially life-threatening injuries and not even realized it until several hours later.
Contact Law Enforcement
Whether or not anyone is injured, law enforcement officials need to be notified about the accident. They’ll come to the scene and assess the situation. They’ll also take your statement about the crash and those of others who were involved. From there, they’ll create a police report detailing what happened and who was at fault. That’ll come into play later when the time comes to deal with your insurance company or the coverage provider of the person who was responsible for the accident.
If you’re able to do so, consider gathering evidence from the accident scene. That includes taking pictures of your vehicle and others that were affected by the crash. Be sure to take pictures that clearly show the resulting damage. You may want to include pictures of the road, traffic signals or signs, and other factors that may be relevant.
Additionally, exchange contact and insurance information with others who were involved in the accident. If possible, get contact information from witnesses as well. Their testimonies may prove helpful if the case ends up going to court.
Contact Your Insurance Company
Finally, report the accident to your insurance company even if you weren’t at fault. Other drivers may try to blame the accident on you and file a claim with your coverage provider. On the other hand, the person who was responsible for the accident may not have enough coverage to pay for your vehicle repairs, medical bills, and other resulting expenses. Keeping the insurance company informed will undoubtedly work in your favor.
Knowing Which Steps to Take after an Accident
Car accidents can be frightening, chaotic, and confusing, even if they’re minor. With more serious crashes, emotions are sure to run even higher, making the moments to follow even more frenzied. Seek medical attention first, if necessary, but visit a physician as soon as possible after an accident even if injuries aren’t immediately apparent. Contact law enforcement, gather evidence from the accident scene, and notify your insurance company. Commit these steps to memory now to be prepared when an accident happens.
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