Unfortunately in life we find ourselves at the wrong place at the wrong time. According to the Global Status Report on Road Safety for 2013, issued by the World Health Organization, approximately 1.24 million people die every year on the world’s roads, and another 20 to 50 million sustain non-fatal injuries as a result of road traffic crashes. They are trying to raise awareness regarding reducing speed, reducing drinking and driving, increasing motorcycle helmet use, increasing seat-belt use and increasing the use of child restraints.
Either if it is your fault or not, there are certain things you need to do in that time of crisis. We have prepared a list of 10 things one needs to have in mind after a car accident.
1. Calm Yourself
No, the first thing on the list is not to call the ambulance and the police. Firstly, you need to calm yourself: take a deep breath and count to ten. Depending on the circumstances of the accidents, you might experience a range of emotions. The calmer you are, the most prepared you will be to face the situation.
2. Stay safe
In the first few seconds after the accident you might be in shock. If your airbag has went off, and the smell and the impact may scare you even more. DO NOT go outside the car until AFTER you made sure that the road is clear and that you are safe if getting out.
Another option is to pull over the car to safe place. Turn off the engine, turn on the hazard lights and use flares for signaling. Never drive away from the scene of an accident, even a minor one.
3. Call the Ambulance and the Police
Based on the severity of the accidents, you should call the police/and the ambulance. Reporting the accident to the police is a vital. Try to describe your current location in details, so they are fast in reaching you. Even if there were no injuries, call them, as you might need their report for submitting the claim to the insurer.
4. Report the Accident
Over six million car accidents occur each year in the United States. Fortunately, most of them involve only property damage – damage to the vehicle as opposed to the occupants. 30% of them involve personal injury to the passenger or driver. When the police arrive, make sure you provide all the details of exactly what has happened. You should make sure that the statements of the other persons involved in the accident are correct as well. Make sure you take the name and contact details of the other drivers, passenger and witnessed involved in the accident. You might need to get in touch with them later. Make sure that you do not intervene in the police investigation.
5. Medical Attention
In case of motor vehicle accidents, injuries become apparent hours after the actual collision. Most of the people involved report injuries even one or two days after the accident.
6. Take Pictures
It is advisable that you take pictures of the cars, of their plate numbers, of the people present there as well as of your visible injuries. You can use the camera on your phone in order to do this. Insurance companies advice clients to set a mini camera on your car. In this way, you can easily prevent a car insurance scam.
7. Call a Tow Truck
If you have an internet connection on your phone, it will be really easy to call the tow truck company. Else you will need to call a friend in order to provide you the number. You should ask the cost of towing you vehicle based on the location where the car will be towed. Make sure you have enough money on your card or else you should borrow from a friend or family. In the end, when you make you keep the receipt, as based on your insurance terms and conditions, you can claim back the money from the insurance.
8. File a Claim
As soon as you can, get in touch with the insurance company. One option will be to tow the car directly to their company, as in some countries the claim agent will evaluate the damage brought to the car. You can call them in advance, asking about the procedure, the document needed and if you can leave the car there. Make sure that you have the policy number with you as well as the car’s documents.
9. Keep a file
It is very important to get all the documents (receipt, photos, police report) in one file. All this data will help the insurer to handle the claim and provide you with an answer faster.
10. Protect your rights
It is highly recommended that you discuss with an attorney after the accident. He or she can protect your rights as well as your interest and they will make sure that the submitted documents will not get lost. In order to prevent this, you can make some copies. Moreover, the attorney can help you with preparing the statement that you are going to provide to the insurer.