Regardless of whether you’re a good driver or not, it’s possible for anyone to get into a car wreck on the road. Car accidents can happen within seconds and can often lead to serious injuries and car damage. Though there are several ways to avoid car accidents, sometimes you aren’t aware or prepared for what is about to hit you. Being in a car accident can become one of the most nerve-wracking experiences of your life.
From anxiety and future PTSD to filing police reports and car repairs, getting into an accident is a hassle. While in a stressful moment, it can be difficult to remember the steps you must take when dealing with vehicular accidents. Sometimes people aren’t sure what to do when something traumatic happens to them. Here is a list of steps to take when you have been involved in a car wreck.
Refrain from fleeing the scene.
Though you may be frightened, it’s extremely important that you stop and refrain from fleeing the scene. In fact, it is illegal to leave a car wreck scene without contacting the police and your insurance company. You could get arrested for leaving no matter the severity of the accident.
If you’re able to move to the side of the road, you should do so as soon as you can. This will get you out of the way of other traffic, and help prevent another accident or injury.
However, if the vehicle is not able to be moved, you should turn on your hazard lights and carefully exit your car, leaving it where it is. Get to the side of the road and then contact the police. A tow truck should also be contacted after exchanging information to get the cars involved removed from the street.
Another important thing to remember when involved in a car wreck is to remain calm. Panicking will not help the situation or your mental state. How you react will determine how easy the process will go and how fast you can be on your way. If you feel yourself panicking and your anxiety level rising, try taking several deep breaths. Breathing in for six seconds and then out for six seconds can help get your heart rate down so you can handle the situation more calmly.
Take a moment to gather yourself and to control your emotions. You need to be able to calmly assess the situation and think about what just happened. Focus on right now, and avoid thinking about what may happen in the future. Everything else you need to worry about will come later, so you must focus on the accident and your health and safety.
Check for any injuries.
Car wrecks can be life-threatening so it’s extremely important to take all kinds of injuries serious, big or small into consideration. Regardless of the severity of the accident, you should always check out any and all persons involved in the accident – including those in other vehicles. If you or anyone else is visibly injured, refrain from moving unless it is absolutely necessary for safety reasons. This will help prevent any further injuries. Let the 911 operator know that there are injuries.
Sometimes injuries are internal and it can be difficult to determine if you or someone else is actually hurt. If someone isn’t acting normal it is possible they are experiencing internal injuries.
Sometimes injuries are not noticed for several hours or even days after the accident, so make a visit to the emergency room or your doctor if you begin feeling odd a day or two later.
When there are injuries involved with a car wreck, you also need to make sure to take the proper actions to get any legal help you may need. Sometimes you must file a personal injury claim to get compensation for your injuries. This is especially important if the other driver was at fault and your injuries were a result of the accident. Costs for medical care and expenses can be extensive, even the pain can be traumatic, so taking the right steps to get reimbursed is ideal. When it comes to serious injuries like bone fractures, chest and abdominal traumas, and extensive wounds, you may want to hire a personal injury lawyer to get the compensation you deserve.
Call the police.
Another important thing to do when involved in a car wreck is to call 911 immediately to get the situation handled properly and in a timely manner. This is important because you will need to file a report. Make sure to explain the details of the accident to the best of your ability. Make sure to have your identification and car registration and insurance ready to show any officers on the scene.
Document the accident.
You will feel secure with the information given and the facts regarding the accident if you document what happened yourself. Take plenty of photos from every angle to help you describe the damage to your insurance company. Videos are also ideal for documenting real-time footage of the accident. Be sure to get your vehicle and the other vehicles involved to obtain the best documentation possible. There are apps you can utilize on your smartphone that help you document information for your insurance and guides you through what to do on the scene.
You can take your own notes as well. This is helpful if there were any outstanding weather conditions happening during your accident and illustrating exactly what happened on paper. Notes are important to take when you need to get the information from other drivers as well.
Exchange information and file an insurance claim.
After checking on everyone involved and contacting the police, the final thing you want to do after a car wreck is to file a claim with your insurance company. If other vehicles are involved in the accident, then you both will need to file a claim. To file a claim, give your insurance a call and explain what happened. They may ask to visit your car to assess damages and costs themselves.
You should also exchange information with everyone involved. Sometimes police don’t respond within a reasonable amount of time so you want to make sure you take them down enough information for a report. Your notes should include:
- Phone numbers
- Home addresses
- License information
- Insurance information
- Vehicle information
Nobody wants to be involved in a car wreck, but accidents do happen. If you get in a car accident, being familiar with the above tips can help ensure you know exactly what to do.