No matter how careful a driver you are, accidents can still happen for a variety of different reasons. They can happen at any time to anyone, so knowing what to do if you are involved in one can be useful; it will help you to stay calm and to ensure that you and everyone around you is safe. Plus it will help you to understand what happens next and whether you need to do anything about it. Read on to find out more.
Make It Safe
Immediately after the accident, you need to check that everyone is safe and unhurt, or at least not hurt in a major way. If you can exit your vehicle, and it is safe to do so, you should. You can then talk to the other people involved (if there were any) and determine who to call for help. Do you need the police? An ambulance? The fire service? A combination of all three? Only by assessing the situation will you know for sure.
It may be that the vehicle or vehicles can’t be moved, but if they can, and you feel up to it, you should drive to a safe spot off the road, or as far to the side as possible, so that no further accidents occur and you are not blocking the road if that is possible. Even if you can’t move the vehicle, you will need to check that it is in park, the hazard lights are blinking, and the engine is off.
Depending on the severity of the accident, you may need to get help from a variety of different sources. Police, ambulance, fire crew, rescue vehicles, or perhaps even friends and family members if you simply need a lift or some moral support.
The police can often be a useful organization to call even if the accident was a seemingly minor one since you might need an incident number when dealing with your insurance company. Only call 911 if it is a true emergency, however, as you don’t want to waste police time and cause yourself additional trouble. Call the local police instead as they will be able to assist if need be. Police will be needed if anyone involved in the accident appears to be intoxicated, or if there is any kind of aggression taking place, or if the vehicles or accident debris is causing a road hazard.
If your vehicle is damaged or you are hurt – or both – you will want to file a claim with your insurance company. Therefore, you need to obtain as much information as possible from the other parties involved. Take photos of the damage, get names and ID if possible, and don’t forget to get information from any passengers too. If there were any witnesses, you should obtain their names and phone numbers, just in case they are required later on in the insurance process. Vehicle license numbers are significant, as is the make and model of the vehicle or vehicles involved.
It can be confusing in all the chaos that ensues after a road traffic accident, but getting this information, and ensuring you have given your information, is vital if you are going to make a successful claim.
File Your Claim
Once you have all the information you need, you should file your claim as soon as possible. You may not feel like talking about what happened, or even thinking about it – accidents like this can be extremely frightening, even if they don’t cause a lot of damage. However, you will need to go through the information carefully and concisely, and the longer you leave it, the less chance there is of remembering what really took place.
Medical expenses, fixing damage to your car, even purchasing a new one, can all be claimed on your insurance, so getting it dealt with as quickly as possible will ensure you are not left out of pocket and you can get all the help you need to get you healthy and get you back on the road again.
Speak To The Experts
If it is determined that you were to blame for the accident, you may find that, depending on the reasons for this determination, you need to speak to a lawyer. If you have been found to have been driving impaired for any reason, for example, this reliable site can point out what you need to do, who you need to speak to, and what the next steps are.
This can be extremely serious, and it is wise to listen to the advice given so that you can be as prepared as possible should you have to go to court. Ask all the questions you need to so that you can be as up to date as you can be on all the processes involved. It may be that you can’t drive until the matter is resolved, or that you have to submit to a blood test or similar medical procedures. Do what is needed and make sure you have a good lawyer on hand to help you through.
The next steps to take will depend on how serious the accident was. If it was a minor incident, you should be able to drive away, clearing the scene (after obtaining photographic evidence, of course) and filing an insurance claim once you get home. You may need to wait until you are calm enough to drive as an accident will be unnerving, but eventually, you will be able to head home.
If the vehicle cannot be driven, you will need to arrange for a tow truck. This can sometimes be dealt with directly through your insurance, or the police might arrange for this for you, but otherwise, you will need to make the call and pay for this to be done, claiming the money back at a later date. If this is the case, you will also need to arrange for a lift back home as you will be without a vehicle.