In the United States, car accidents happen every 60 seconds. Another thing is, they can happen to anyone. Even to those who aren’t even inside a moving vehicle. They happen so frequently that they’re the ones most tackled inside the walls of civil courts.
People who get involved in car accidents, whether they’re the ones at fault or not, go through tumultuous legal battles with other individuals to earn rightful compensation for the damages sustained during the accidents they get involved in.
And if you were in their place, you’ll most likely do the same thing. After a car accident, your first thoughts are on your physical state. You’re worried about injuries and of course, the welfare of your passengers.
The last thing on your mind will be how you’ll deal with the accident as a legal matter, which should be a concern when you’re out of the state of shock post-collision. In any car accident, what you do after the event will affect your case once you bring it up to court.
You don’t want to weaken your case especially if you’re not the one at fault, and you’d want to get as much evidence as possible. So, if you get into a car accident, what steps should you take to protect yourself?
1. Pull over and check on your passengers.
After the accident itself, your car is more than likely to still be subject to more accidents as it’s blocking the road where other vehicles zoom past. You don’t want to get into another accident.
So, move your vehicle to the side of the road, and check on your passengers. Make sure everyone’s conscious and inspect if they have injuries—especially life-threatening ones. If there’s any, you’d want to take action as quickly as possible.
Of course, checking on other people should be done after you’re sure you’re not going to fight for your life due to injuries you’ve sustained. Make sure you’re well and then check on the other people in the car with you.
2. Call the police.
After moving your vehicle to a safe spot and checking on yourself and your passengers, make sure you call law enforcement. Having them in the scene will help you keep informed on what steps you should take after the incident.
Law enforcement will gather your statements and that of the other people involved on how the accident transpired. Whatever they get from you and the others will matter when you take the case to court.
It’s more than likely that you’re not in the right state of mind to provide accurate answers to their questions, so make sure you’re at your best self when you speak to them. Worry not, for they’re trained to communicate with people experiencing the effects of traumatic events such as car accidents. Rest assured they’ll be understanding when you want to delay the conversation a bit to compose yourself.
3. Receive medical attention.
Even if you didn’t get a single bone broken, it’s important to get checked medical professionals who arrive on the scene for injuries that you might not feel or see due to the adrenalin rush suppressing pain, or they can be injuries whose effects aren’t felt until sometime after the accident.
It can be just a scratch or two, but you should still let them run examinations on you after you’ve informed them about other people who require quick medical attention.
If paramedics don’t arrive on time and you or someone involved in the accident needs medical attention, ask people passing by for help to bring them to the nearest hospital. Doing this will save their lives.
4. Talk to witnesses and take photo evidence.
If you see that there are people who are around when the accident happened, make sure you speak to them about what they’ve witnessed and ask them to stay to provide statements to law enforcement. Ask them if they’re fine with your insurance companies reaching out to them to verify your claim.
If you can, you should also take pictures of the scene. This backs up your claim and helps work as solid evidence of what the aftermath of the accident is. Photos can show proof of negligence and damages. They’ll help you in court and as you work with your insurance company.
5. Speak with an attorney.
After making sure you and who you’re in the car with received medical attention and are clear, make sure to contact a car accident lawyer. They will help you through the process of filing a claim.
They’re experienced with the processes involved and the steps you should take to best protect yourself after the incident. You don’t have to do much work, especially if you have to recover. They’ll be handling most of the work for you and will only need you to provide the information they need.