Nobody wants to be in a car accident at any point in their life. But the unfortunate truth is that they do happen – every day. If you are unlucky enough to be in a car accident, you are not alone. In the last few years, the incidence rate of such occurrences has increased year-on-year. This does not mean that it will continue to grow. But it does mean that any of us could find ourselves in such a situation in the future. There is only a limited amount you can do to prevent such a disaster happening to you. Practising safe driving is, of course, your best preventative measure by far. However, you can also take the time to ensure that you are as prepared as possible.
Being prepared for the worst does not make it less likely to happen. But it does mean that, should the worst happen, you will know what to do. Knowing what to do is a great benefit towards remaining calm at the scene. That can be paramount; in situations such as that, not allowing stress to get the better of you can make all the difference. To help you become prepared for such a situation, we have put together this short post. Here are all the steps you need to take if you find yourself in an accident on the roads – regardless of who is to blame.
The first thing you must do is come to a complete stop. This might seem somewhat obvious, but it is important to mention this. In most areas, it is a criminal offence to drive away after a collision. Not only that, but you also have a moral duty to ensure that everybody at the scene is okay. A lot of the time, hit-and-runs occur because one of the drivers doesn’t believe it to be serious enough. It is important, therefore, that you understand that no crash is too minor. Regardless of the level of seriousness of the incident, you need to pull over straight away. Even if you think the damage is minimal, you must come to a complete stop and carry out the following steps. Never be tempted just to drive away.
Check For Injuries
When you find yourself in a situation such as this, the primary focus should always be on the wellbeing of everybody involved. At the end of the day, a car is just a car – and it can be replaced if necessary. The people involved in the incident are far more important. That is why you need to remember that, after coming to a stop, the first thing you should do is check to see if anybody is injured. You should, of course, also check yourself at this time. If you are badly hurt in a way which makes it difficult to move, then don’t try to. Stay still and ensure that someone calls an ambulance. It is important, at this point, to note that if anybody at the scene has even the slightest injury, it is a legal requirement that the police are called. The police must attend the scene of a car accident if anybody is injured.
At this time, you should also consider whether you intend to prosecute, or even just try and settle. It all depends on the situation, of course, and nobody can tell you what you should do. But it is important to remember the relevance of timing to such a claim. If you do call 702-4-INJURY or a similar company, remember to do so after you have checked the scene for injuries. However, you do want to call at your earliest convenience, as this is for your benefit in the long run.
Once the people involved have been checked, you can safely move to the subsequent stages.
Regardless of who appears to be at fault, it is imperative that everybody exchanges their personal details with one another. Not only is this a legal duty on everyone’s part, but it is also a moral responsibility. More than that, it is a sign of good faith to the other parties involved. The key here is to give as many details as you can. However, do at least provide the other parties with the basics – even if you have nothing else to hand. Your name, your address and contact details are the absolute bare minimum in this circumstance.
Beyond that, you should endeavour to provide as much as possible. Ideally, give your insurance provider’s details: their name, contact details, and your policy number if you have it. Ensure that you receive all the corresponding information possible from the other people involved. If anybody is wilfully failing to provide you with any information, then there is very little you can legally do about it. It is important to remain as polite as possible. Everybody is likely to be a little stressed, but being civil is the best option available to everyone.
As well as gaining information from the other parties, you should also collate as much evidence as you can. If you have any device on your person which takes photographs, then do so. Take as many pictures of the scene as you can. The more evidence you have about the scene, the better it is for everybody. You particularly want to take photographs of any damage to your vehicle – or especially any injuries you received. It is also good practise to make a note of the others’ registration plate numbers. While you’re at it, write down a description of the vehicles involved. It is also advisable to jot down a brief description of exactly what happened, while it is still fresh in your mind. All this will prove to be useful later on. If you have to go to court, then having as much evidence as possible is in your favour. Likewise, making a claim with your insurance provider is a lot easier if you have a lot of evidence. You are also more likely to be successful in your claim if you have photographic evidence.
No-one wants to find themselves in this situation. But if you do – ensure you follow these steps, and make the process as painless as possible for everyone involved.