Whether it’s a simple fender bender or a serious collision involving multiple vehicles, a car accident is never something you want to experience. However, you always need to be prepared so that you respond in the appropriate manner.
4 Tips for Handling a Car Accident
Few things are scarier than being involved in a car accident. They happen in a split second, typically with very little warning. While serious wrecks are obviously frightening, small, low-speed collisions can be equally jarring.
Nobody will blame you for not thinking correctly in the wake of an accident, but it’s important that you get things together and make smart, calculated decisions that give you the best chance of recovering – physically, emotionally, and financially.
- Get Immediate Help
Nothing matters more in the immediate aftermath of a car accident than getting the appropriate help. At this point, physical safety is the primary concern. Here’s how you should proceed:
- Start by making sure you’re okay. You probably have a lot of adrenaline going, so perform a visual check to look for signs of bleeding or broken bones.
- Once you’ve confirmed that it’s safe for you to move and help others, you should check on any passengers in your own vehicle.
- After checking on your passengers, proceed to check on the other driver(s) and their passengers.
- Call for help. While the police will obviously need to be dispatched in order to handle the accident report, you may also need to request EMS to deal with injuries.
The quicker you respond to the accident, the better things will be. This is especially true if there are serious injuries that need to be treated.
- Don’t Admit Fault
You need to be careful with your words. While they may seem trivial, your words can have a major impact on how the accident and police report are handled.
“Even if you think the accident may have been your fault, don’t apologise to the other driver, admit responsibility or even discuss the accident at the scene. If it actually wasn’t your fault, an unguarded comment now could cause problems for you later,” AXA Insurance explains.
While you never want to lie to law enforcement or make up information, don’t give away any details that aren’t necessary. It’s best to remain quiet until you get a chance to gather your thoughts and receive guidance.
- Document the Scene
“You will probably be shaken after an accident, but it’s important to gather evidence to strengthen your claim. Write down details at the scene. These will help your claims adjuster review your case, and can be instrumental if your case goes to court,” DMV.org explains. “There may be months between the accident and the settlement of your claim, and you can forget key details in that time.”
It’s better to document too much rather than not enough. Some of the information you’ll want to record include: pictures of damage; the speed at which you were driving; the conditions of the road; distractions that were present; witnesses who saw the accident; time of day; conversations overheard at the scene; and contact information on the other drivers and passengers.
- Hire a Lawyer
Don’t wait too long to hire a lawyer. It’s important that you receive well-guided legal counsel as quickly as possible. This will ensure you follow all of the right steps and protect your best interests. A good lawyer is worth his weight in gold. A bad lawyer will lead you astray. Make sure you choose accordingly.
Have a Plan Ahead of Time
You always need to know what you’re going to do in an important situation before the situation actually occurs. This basic logic permeates every area of life. If you don’t already have your mind made up regarding how you’ll respond, the pressure of a situation will generally lead you to make wrong decisions.
In terms of a car accident, you need to know how you’re going to respond before you’re in the moment. This will allow you to make smart, pragmatic choices that aren’t rooted in fear or emotion. Hopefully this article has provided some helpful tips on how to proceed – if and when you find yourself involved in a car accident.
Author: Oliver Curtis
Hi there. I’m Oliver. I’m just a young boy from the outskirts of… Okay, that’s a lie, I’m not a young boy anymore, although I certainly feel that way at heart.