Life happens, and what you thought would never occur to you becomes a reality. As much as no one wants to imagine the worst, there are times when misfortune befalls. One of these is a car crash. And here’s the thing: a crash can happen in a split second due to an error in judgment, brake failure, or many other things. For instance, according to Dyer and others, yearly, 5% of auto accidents in the United States are caused by brake failure. So, in the unfortunate event you are involved in a car crash, here is what to do to protect yourself.
1. Stop The Vehicle
You will likely feel disoriented when you’re involved in a car accident. While your judgment could still be clouded, try to halt the car as soon as possible. In some states, the law demands you do this. Next, switch off the engine and turn on the hazard lights. If the damage is minor, move the car to the side street or roadside. Don’t leave the wreck scene as this is illegal, even if no injuries are involved. Leaving the crash scene will likely expose you to criminal and civil charges.
2. Get Medical Help Urgently
The first thing to do after an accident is to check if you are okay. If your injuries are not restrictive, inspect other passengers to establish if they are hurt. If you can get out of the car, find out if the other driver and their passengers are okay or if they need help. Next, call 911 if anyone is injured. This is critical since seconds could save a life in an emergency. Lastly, stay calm and listen to instructions from the 911 operator if you’re on the phone with them.
3. Don’t Admit Liability
Being an “at fault” state, in Virginia, the person causing a car accident pays all the damages. Your first interaction with the other driver is to establish if they are okay. If they are injured, contact 911 immediately.
If they are okay, be careful about what you say, and don’t admit responsibility for the crash. Don’t apologize by saying “I am sorry” event to be polite, as this is an indirect admission of fault and could be used against you by an insurance company. Even if you think you were at fault, don’t admit it; keep silent and let the investigation follow its course.
4. Call The Police
Even if the accident is negligible, it is critical to notify the cops, so they can file an accident report. While the police may take some time to get to the accident scene, stay put until they do. It isn’t a good idea to exchange information with the other driver and trust they will do the right thing. Once the police arrive, get as much detail about the other driver as possible, including the insurance details. The police report will form critical evidence as an authoritative record of what happened.
5. Document Everything
You will need a first-hand report of what happened in the accident. Record everything you see and hear that could help, such as witness reports, including the first responders’ views of what they found upon arrival at the accident scene. Also, get as much information about the other driver as possible.
Start with their physical description, full names, car license plate, insurance, and home address. If the driver isn’t the owner of the car, get the owner’s contact information. The goal is to document as much as possible, as this could be the only chance for credible information. Take videos and pictures of the wreck scene if you have a camera or smartphone and can do it without causing further injury to yourself.
6. Notify The Insurance Company
As soon as possible, notify the auto insurance firm about the vehicle accident, even if you are not planning to file a claim. This is critical since the other driver may not have a policy, or it could have been canceled. Don’t put off notifying your insurance company for too long, as this could compromise your coverage. The insurance company may ask you to record a statement and fully cooperate with their investigations.
Car Accident Consideration Conclusion
No matter how careful you are on the road, you can’t confidently say there is zero chance of being involved in a car crash. Even if the U.S. has 2.6 million miles of paved roads, according to the National Asphalt Pavement Association, accidents still occur. If you happen to be involved in one, take steps to protect yourself by being diligent.