Car accidents account for one of the country’s most common causes of serious injury and death, with thousands taking place every day throughout the U.S. They are very stressful events which can cause immediate panic and lead to the wrong decisions being made. When you are involved in a car accident, you are sure to have tons of questions coursing through your mind… should I call the police? Do I need to move my car? Am I injured? Do I need to call a lawyer?
When you find yourself in the worst possible situation, it helps if you know what to do or how you should react. By remaining calm and taking time to methodically go through a process then you can not only reduce the stresses of the situation but also ensure you and all other people involved are able to move forward quickly and safely. It also helps to know how you can be safer on the road, and you can discover more by reading this blog.
Here’s the process you should go through if you ever find yourself caught in a car accident.
#1: Assess Your Injuries
If you are badly injured, have broken bones or are stuck in your car, then you are not going to be able to do much other than wait for help to arrive. You should immediately check yourself over and try to determine whether anything is broken and whether you are able to escape your vehicle.
When you have a car accident, your body releases adrenaline, which can mask the fact that you have an injury because you will not be able to feel pain as it would normally feel straight away. Give it a moment or two for yourself to calm down and assess the situation around you. By this time it should start to become clearer whether you have been hurt and can make a move.
If you have any passengers in your car then you should check on these people, too. If anybody is injured, including yourself, get on the phone to 911 straight away.
#2: Try to Reach Safety
If you appear to be relatively uninjured and you are able to escape your car, then the next thing you need to do is to reach safety. Exit your vehicle if it’s safe to do so and begin moving towards the side of a road, sidewalk, or any other place which is out of the flow of traffic and away from your vehicle. If you have had a relatively minor crash, then you may be able to move your vehicle. If, however, it has been quite bad, and your car is a mess, then it’s best to leave it where it is, as cars can become very dangerous when they have been involved in a particularly bad collision.
If you have any passengers with you then you should help these people get out of the vehicle and reach safety too. Get as far away from your vehicle as possible, as it could potentially burst into flames if the gas tank has ruptured and fuel has spilled everywhere.
#3: Call for Help
When you are out of your car and away from the danger, you should call 911 straight away. It doesn’t matter whether it’s a minor crash where you’ve merely scratched your car or whether it’s a huge accident, you are legally obliged to call the police in most U.S. states. Not only that but calling the authorities is important for insurance purposes, as they will fill out an accident report and document the situation. If the police are unable to respond to your call – usually when it’s a very minor incident they don’t attend – then you may be obliged to go to the nearest police station and fill out a report yourself.
Even if you appear to be uninjured, it is still worth calling for paramedics if it’s been a particularly bad crash. Lots of injuries don’t present themselves straight away and it’s always worth being checked over. Don’t forget that somebody else may have been involved in the incident too and you don’t know what their exact situation is, either. By calling 911 and having police and paramedics attend, you completely cover your back both in terms of the law and your health.
#4: Call an Attorney
Whether you have your own attorney or not, getting legal advice is important, especially if the accident could be deemed as your fault. If you have been injured then you may be able to make a claim for compensation, too.
Calling a specialist attorney who has specific experience dealing with motor vehicle accidents and claims is one of the most important things you can do after the initial shock and awe of the accident has calmed down and you are dealing with the fallout from it.
An attorney will handle everything for you on your behalf so that you can focus on the one thing which matters: your recovery. Most motor vehicle accidents are open and shut cases, so they can progress quite quickly should negotiations go well, and you may even be entitled to compensation if the accident was caused by you. Whilst this depends on state law, the general consensus is that anybody who is injured is allowed to claim remuneration for their injuries, suffering and vehicular damage.
Motor vehicle accidents rank up there as one of the most stressful and dangerous situations you can face, not only on the road but anywhere in the U.S. Cars account for millions of deaths per year worldwide, and finding yourself in a car accident is far from ideal.
They can’t always be prevented, but by taking measures to improve your driving and being careful, you may just avoid one. If you do find yourself in a car accident, then it is important to know what you are doing, and by approaching the situation pragmatically and following the above steps, you stand a better chance of success.