A car accident can be a scary experience. None of us want to experience it but we cannot really predict the same. God forbid you are caught in an accident; you will not want the headache of dealing with the paperwork of financial compensation. Seeking medical help, making sure you and everyone else is not in danger – will be on the top of your checklist. However, there are a few other steps that you must ensure you follow – whether the accident was caused due to your mistake or no.
Here are the steps:
- Do not leave the accident site. If you do, you could be accused of a hit-and-run. Stay around until you are fully assured that everything is under control.
- Ensure that everyone affected is standing at a safe location. Children should not be standing in the middle of the road. Victims who are hurt or dazed should be transported to a safe place and not left standing on the roadside.
- Check the seriousness of injuries. Call 911 for help. Ensure you give them all the requisite details like location, number of people injured, how grave is the injury, etc. If someone is gravely injured, see if you can find someone knowing first aid to treat them. Do not try to move the victims yourself unless it is a dire emergency.
- Ensure that all vehicles are relocated to a safer zone. It can help prevent more injury. Also in case a vehicle coming in that direction suffers damage due to not being warned, you could face more financial claims. Call for a tow vehicle if required.
- Cooperate with the authorities by providing them the correct details, papers and whatever else they ask for. Make sure you tell the truth without layering it with your own version.
- Do not start a debate about who is at fault. Let the authorities determine the same. Who is liable and who is not is not always black and white. It can be easily proven only in some cases, not all.
- Keep notes on everything. If you have a phone with a camera, take as many photos as required. They will come handy as evidence. Think calmly and make notes on what exactly happened. Mention the tiniest of details that you can remember. The sooner you do this, the more you will be able to clearly articulate the sequence of events. Make notes on and also take photos of the injuries incurred. Also, damages to the vehicle need to be documented. Ensure your car does not get towed away till the authorities come and you speak to them.
- Speak to as many people (present on the scene) as possible. Ask them details of what they saw and make notes. Get their contact details if possible. This may prove vital in case the opposite party exaggerates their claims and gives fake details.
- Exchange all possible information with the other concerned parties like contact details, vehicle details, insurance details, etc.
- Make sure to report the accident. It is a mandate in many states. Also, contact the police. Popular law firms like the Alvarez law firm suggest that your report should be concise without taking any responsibility. It should be carefully worded as insurance companies may try to use it against you later.
- Call your lawyer or a law firm to file for a claim. It is advisable to do this even in the case of a minor accident. Look for a lawyer or a law firm that specializes in cases related to personal injury. Remember that if you are seeking compensation from another party then you will have to file a claim with their insurance company.
It helps to stay prepared. In case an accident does happen, your planning will help you to maintain calm and the above-mentioned checklist can ease out the process for you.