When it comes to being safe on the road, preparedness and alertness are the two most important traits to cultivate. That’s true when you are packing your road bag to make sure you can handle inclement weather while you travel, and it’s also true after you have already been in an accident, when you are trying to make sure you get all the information you need to get your car and your medical bills taken care of. Accidents can be confusing, especially if you have been hurt, so having a clear idea about what you should do if you are ever in one is vital. That preparedness can keep you on track, helping you to be alert to the problems and challenges that come with negotiating the post-accident process.
Step 1: Assess Yourself and the Situation
The most important thing to do after a collision is to assess yourself and anyone else in your vehicle for injuries. If you are hurt, try not to move until you have had a chance to be checked out by medical professionals, especially if you have hit your head or you feel pain in your neck. If you are unhurt, check your passengers and remember, you don’t want to move injured people unless it is a matter of their own safety. Once you have had a chance to check over the people in your vehicle, check to see if it is safe to step out.
If you can exit the vehicle, it will be easier to get some idea of the damage done, and you might also be able to communicate with the other party.
Step 2: Contact the Authorities and Make a Statement
The next major step is to contact the authorities and make a statement. This helps you to obtain a written record of both your own statement and the other parties’ statements, and it also gives you the opportunity to exchange insurance information and identifiers with a mediating member of the law enforcement community present. You will need that insurance information, along with any information that helps to prove you did not cause the accident, to make a claim for damages when you are not at fault.
Step 3: Treatment, Repair, and Legal Advice
After you have talked with the other driver and law enforcement and you’ve had the opportunity to see to your other needs with regard to your vehicle, it’s time to get repairs done and to get your injuries treated. Most of the time, you can’t really afford to wait for either, which is why you might also want to take advantage of any legal resources available to you. Talking with a qualified accident attorney can help you to know your rights, and if there is any trouble collecting damages for your repairs or your medical expenses, it is helpful to have a lawyer on deck already, so you can move forward in the pursuit of the money you need to be able to get on your feet again.
If you have been in an accident, do not wait to find out about your rights. The longer you wait, the more difficult it can be to make sure you have all the evidence you need, and the longer you go without the money that will help you put the accident behind you.