Road accidents take a huge toll on our lives. Across the globe, more than a million people die every year from road accidents with more than 20 million suffering from injuries or disabilities as a result. In the US alone, some 2.3 million people suffer from injuries caused by road accidents. If you are a driver, chances are that you are going to get involved in some kind of accident in your lifetime.
Even without serious injuries, road accidents can be quite disorienting. When they happen, it is important to have a good idea of the measures to take that will help save lives, alleviate suffering and help in quickly resolving the impasse. Accident scenes have the potential to cascade into even bigger accidents costing a lot more lives if the situation is not resolved in due time. Here is a quick overview of some of the measures to undertake if you have been involved in a road accident.
#1 Seek Medical Attention
If you have been involved in a road accident that has resulted in injuries to you, the passengers in your car, passengers in the other car or a pedestrian, start by seeking medical attention. Once you have overcome the initial shock of the accident, ensure that you head to the hospital for a checkup even if you haven’t incurred any discernible physical injuries. Accidents can result in serious injuries such as internal bleeding, bulging discs or pinched nerves which may not be apparent at first.
Young children, particularly, need an immediate checkup after a road accident as they are more deeply affected by the shock and they may also not have the capability to verbalize what they feel. Other vulnerable groups in a non-fatal road accident include pregnant women and the elderly. Both should seek immediate medical attention even in the absence of any physical injuries.
When seeking medical care after a road accident, be sure to document all the expenses incurred. You will need these when pursuing claims from the insurance company or in a law court.
#2 Exchange Information with the Third Party
Talk to the third party involved in the accident and gather as much information as possible. You will need details such as their names, addresses, contact numbers, the vehicle’s license plate, and the driver’s license number among others. You will also need the details of any witnesses including the ambulance drivers at the scene. This information will also be collected by the investigation officer in case they promptly come to the accident scene.
However, where cops are not available on the scene in time, the onus will be on you to collect this information as it will come in handy in your insurance claims or personal injury claims in a law court. Other important information that you will need to collect include the make of the vehicle, model, as well as its color. Of course, if you have a good in car camera, all of this data will be captured automatically at the time of impact. A good dash camera ensures that you won’t even have to worry about witness testimony as the device will record all the proceedings of the incident right from the impact.
Be sure not to admit any fault at the accident scene, even if you think you are in the wrong. Ensure you talk to a personal injury attorney for guidance before you talk about the accident.
#3 Contact Your Insurance Company
It is prudent top contact your insurance company as soon as the accident occurs. This should be done immediately or at least within 24 hours. Describe the whole incident, including the extent of injuries and damages to your vehicle. If you have dash cam footage, ensure that you share it with the insurance company.
It is generally prudent to contact your insurer while you are still at the accident scene. They will advise you accordingly on the steps that you will need to undertake for your insurance claims to be processed promptly. A comprehensive insurance package usually caters not just for your car but also the injuries sustained in the accident. If you have an accident, remember to also collect the insurance details of the other parties that are involved in the same accident as this will come handy when pursuing your claims.
#4 Document the Accident
Beyond the exchange of information with the other party or parties involved in the accident, it is advisable to comprehensively document the accident as this will simplify your claims process. Ensure you have an accurate record of how the accident transpired. A good in car camera can come in handy when you are documenting an accident.
Some of the information that you should capture in an accident include the following: –
- Collect the names and details of the law enforcement officers who have responded to the accident scene.
- Get an accident report from the law enforcement officers
- Take pictures or videos of the accident scene from multiple angles, focusing on the damage done to the vehicle. You can also take pictures of the other car(s) that are involved in the accident. If you have sustained some injuries, get someone to photograph these as well. A good dash cam can come in handy when it comes to documenting an accident scene.
- Take down the names and details of all the parties involved in the accident.
- Take down the names and details of any witnesses to the accident
- If your car has a dash cam, review and retrieve the footage of the accident
After the documentation, keep this information in a file. The documentation should include a claim, the adjuster handling the claim, details of all contacts as well as receipts of all expenses incurred following the accident.
#5 Call Your Attorney
Finally, you will need to protect your rights following an accident so ensure you call your lawyer. A lawyer will not only offer you sound advice that ensures your rights are well protected but they can also advise you on the valuable evidence to preserve.
Insurance companies usually need statements immediately following an accident so it is important to ensure you are talking to insurance company while backed by sound legal advice. If you have had some injuries, you will also need a personal injury lawyer who can advise you on how to get compensated and ensure you get the best medical care available.