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What to Do When a Car Accident Happens

No matter how many safety precautions we take, accidents are sometimes inevitable in our life. Among various types of accidents, car accidents are common and scary ones. Most people are dazed after an accident. However, if we can handle a car wreck aftermath well, we can settle our claims and recover our damage in the best possible manner. Here are a few guidelines to handle accidents with optimum efficiency.

Always Remain Prepared

We can encounter car accidents anytime and anywhere. To avoid unnecessary hassle, inconvenience, and penalties we must possess the following:

  1. All vehicle-related documents (Registration paper, proof of insurance)
  2. Driving license
  3. A functioning first aid kit
  4. Toolbox with essential tools
  5. A checklist for Motor Vehicle Accident

Action on the Spot

Once you’ve seen that you and your loved ones are okay, check your surroundings. You will need to list a few things first, to ensure you aren’t missing some important details later.

  1. Panicking is the last thing you want to do after an accident. Despite the nature, type, and gravity of accident, try to remain as calm as possible. It helps to tackle the disaster better.
  2. The first thing you should assess after the accident is the condition of the passengers including you. If anyone is seriously injured call 911 for necessary medical support. Try not to move the injured person which could increase their danger. However, if injuries are minor, you may use your general knowledge and first aid kit for preliminary treatment. But in no case, should you apply first aid without knowing it well.
  3. Turn on the hazard lights to warn other drivers to avoid further accidents. If an accident occurs on the expressway, additional care must be taken. In low light condition or in a blind spot use flash lights or torches to warn the oncoming traffic of the danger.
  4. Call the police if the accident is fatal or involves serious property damage. Motorist aid boxes are available on freeways or highways, use them to seek assistance if you don’t have a cell phone. In case of minor accidents, it is still better to call the police immediately for precise recording of the accident.
  5. If possible, move the car to a safe place. However, take the necessary pictures before that to preserve the accident scene. When other parties are involved, and cars are not blocking the road, it is better to move the car after the arrival of police.
  6. Documentation and collecting evidence are important parts of handling an accident. Seek necessary information about other parties involved. Write down the registration number, drivers license details, and the owner’s address. Do not hesitate to exchange your details as well. However, you do not need to share your insurance information. Do not forget to collect details of any witnesses present during the accident. Talk to them to understand their version of the incident. They will be valuable in proving any claims.
  7. Take a number of photos of the accident scene which should depict the right scenario of the accident. Capture photos of the damaged property as well.
  8. Do not sign anything unknowingly on the spot. Do not discuss the accident too much. Even if the police arrests you, do not make a premature statement. It is better to do it after consultation with a lawyer.
  9. Always be aware of staged accidents which are done to rob you on an isolated highway.

Follow Up

  1. Besides reporting to local police, you must report the incident to the state Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). Failing to do so may cost your driver’s license. Make sure police officially record your report on duty and obtain a copy of the written report.
  2. You must report your accident to your insurance company as soon as possible. Complete the accident report form and follow up with them. Subsequent claim procedures will depend on the nature of your insurance and the accident itself.
  3. You should preserve all the notes on your physical injuries. A personal injury lawyer might be of great help to ensure compensation for the injury you suffered. Seek legal advice from him before making any statement to other party or to the insurance company of the counterpart.

Accidents are always problematic. However, prudent management, before, during and after an accident may save you from disaster. Your insurance company is always there to provide the necessary guidelines to file an accident claim, however, contacting an injury lawyer might enhance the amount of recovery.

This article does not necessarily reflect the opinions of the editors or management of EconoTimes.

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