How to Properly Deal with a Road Accident
The United States has around 264 million registered vehicles, making its highways and roads among the busiest in the world. The sheer number of vehicles also makes for a high number of road traffic incidents.
In 2015, the US had around 6.3 million crashes that led to property damage, injuries, and fatalities. So if you are a driver, it is best to know how to deal with road accidents. You should know whether to handle it the usual way or call a car accident lawyer.
What to Do in Case of a Road Accident
To mitigate the damages in a road accident, here are the things you should do:
- Stop. As soon as it is safe for you to do so, stop your car. If the situation prevents you from immediately stopping, then do so as soon as you can. Some state laws mandate that cars should stay where they end up after a collision. Other states direct drivers to move the cars off the roadway. Know what the laws are in your state and follow them. Turn off the ignition and check whether there are any gas leaks or other hazards. Also, ensure that you and the other people involved are not in the way of traffic.
- Check for injuries. Examine your body for any injuries. Do the same for other people with you and those in the other car(s). If you find that there is someone with serious injuries, do not move them unless they are in danger.
- Call the authorities. Alert the police in the area immediately. If there are injuries that need emergency attention, call for medical services too.
- Exchange information. Talk to the other driver and get details such as his/her name, contact information, address, and the number of his/her driver’s license. You should also get details about their insurance company, policy number, and their insurance agent. Also, note down the other vehicle’s make, model, year, and license number. If there are any passengers in the vehicle, take down their names as well.
- Get witnesses. If there are witnesses, ask them to write down what they saw. You should also ask them to write down their name and contact number. If they have to leave before the police arrive, ask them to sign their statement. They can give their statement to you or hand it over to the police.
- Document the scene. Take pictures of the accident. Take pictures of the cars, the area of the road where the accident occurred and skid marks, if there are any. You can also make sketches if you don’t have a camera with you. Include in your sketch the seating positions of the passengers. Note the direction and the lane that the cars involved were on as well as the time, date, and weather. If there are injuries, it would be best to take photos of them.
- Call your company. If the vehicle you are driving is owned by your employer, inform them of the accident. Ask where you should take it or have it towed.
- Talk to the police. When the police arrive, hand them your driver’s license, insurance details, and tell them what happened. Any witnesses should also give their accounts. Take note of the police officer’s name, the number on his badge, and the unit he/she is part of. This way, you will know who to contact and where to get a copy of the police report.
After doing all of the above, you can leave the scene once the police give you the go signal to do so. If the vehicle needs towing, you can contact a towing company. Get in touch with your insurance company afterward. If the other driver was at fault, contact their insurance company too. File your claims. If needed, get a reputable car accident lawyer.