With over 2.5 million people suffering injuries in car accidents annually, knowing what to do after a car accident is crucial. Proper preparation for an accident will help a driver protect his or her ability to lodge a claim against a liable driver or the liable driver’s insurance provider. It also enables the driver to protect himself or herself if the other driver falsely accuses him or her of causing the accident.
Taking Appropriate Steps Right After a Car Accident
Feeling disoriented and confused immediately after a motor vehicle accident is normal. The driver should, however, not let these feelings overwhelm him or her. Instead, he or she should relax, take a few deep breaths, and try to pay attention to the situation at hand. The driver should then turn on the hazard lights and move the car out of the traffic. If the driver feels it’s unsafe to drive the car, he or she should just leave it exactly where it is and wait for law enforcement officers to arrive.
The driver should also stay at the scene of the car accident. Fleeing the scene is an offense and could disqualify him or her from filing a claim later. What’s more, fleeing the scene of a car crash that has left someone seriously injured or even killed could result in a criminal conviction.
The driver should also check his or her injuries. If the driver was seriously hurt, he or she should request emergency medical help by calling 911. If the driver feels okay and can move, he or she should confirm whether the other driver(s) or passengers involved in the accident are okay. He or she should, however, avoid discussing with them the facts of the accident.
In most instances, the driver may go for hours or even days without feeling any pain. This happens because the fear and confusion caused by the crash prompt the release of adrenaline into the bloodstream, lowering the body’s capability to feel pain. Seeking medical help immediately after a car crash can, therefore, help a doctor determine if the driver has hidden injuries and how to treat them effectively.
Calling the Local Police
Calling local police officers and notifying them about the crash is a wise decision. In fact, some states, such as Ohio, require drivers to report a crash immediately. Once police officers arrive at the scene of the crash, they will prepare an accident report explaining what happened, the parties involved, and any other relevant information.
The driver should try to obtain the name and badge number of the police officer handling the accident. He or she should also get the accident report number. That way, obtaining a copy of the accident report will be easy.
Gathering Crucial Information
While the police are examining the crash site, the driver should obtain the necessary information he or she needs to file an accident claim. This includes the name, contact details, license plate number, driver’s license number, and insurance information of the other driver.
Collecting information about what took place before and after the crash is also important. The driver should, for instance, noted down:
- The accident’s date and time
- Where the accident took place
- Name of the road
- Name of the nearest street
- The driving conditions
- His or her account of what took place
Writing down these notes immediately after the crash will enable a driver to collect as many details about the crash as possible. Gathering comprehensive information about a car accident can help a rideshare driver involved in a rideshare accident obtain money for repair and other covered costs from his or her rideshare insurance provider.
Documenting the Scene of the Accident
For the driver to obtain compensation for injuries caused by the accident, the driver must prove beyond reasonable doubt that he or she was injured during the accident. For this reason, he or she should document everything at the scene to increase the chances of his or her injury claim becoming successful.
The driver should start by taking clear photos and quality videos of the crash site. He or she should document all the vehicles involved, other drivers and passengers, and even the road or weather conditions that may have caused the accident.
The driver should also ensure pictures of the injuries are showing how his or her life has been affected. An attorney will find such pictures useful when pursuing compensation on the injured driver’s behalf. Keeping copies of the medical costs as proof of injuries sustained following a car accident is crucial.
Seeking Legal Help
Seeking legal support from an aggressive personal injury attorney immediately after the accident is a good idea. This will give the attorney adequate time to come up with a strong case if/when necessary. The attorney will also collect enough facts about the accident, assemble necessary documents, and draft clear and comprehensive demands that will help the injured driver get maximum compensation.