Car accidents are scary and stressful, and often this combination makes it hard for us to concentrate and work out what it is that we’re meant to be doing. Car accidents can sometimes be easily prevented, but it’s not always possible to avoid car accidents, especially if the accident wasn’t your fault. There are certain steps that you need to take after being involved in a car accident, especially if you intend to make a compensation claim. Here is a short guide for you to follow if you ever get involved in a car accident.
You should quickly assess the situation and see if you are in any immediate danger. If possible, you should move yourself and your car to a safe location. If you are injured, you may cause yourself further injuries by moving, so stay put if your location is already relatively safe. If there are any injuries, be sure to call an ambulance. You should do this even if your injuries don’t seem too severe, as the adrenaline rush you’ll be feeling from the accident will be numbing your pain, and your injuries may be worse than they seem.
- Call 911
It’s always a smart idea to call the police when you’ve been in a car accident, especially if anyone has been injured. This means that they can advise you on what to do while you wait for help. If no one has been injured in the accident, and none of the vehicles are obstructing the road, you are allowed to leave the scene without contacting the police, as long as you exchanged details. However, this may not be the most sensible idea, as you may develop injuries, like whiplash, after the accident, and may want to claim compensation. Calling the police means that you’ll have a neutral third party to document the accident, and provide evidence on your behalf.
If you are physically able to do so, you should get the other party’s details. This means their name and car insurance information, as well as a contact number. You should also take pictures of the cars involved in the accident, any damage to property, things like skid marks, and things that could have contributed towards the accident, such as a covered traffic sign. You should also write down details of the accident, including your version of events, the date and time, the weather conditions, and the details of any witnesses, including the emergency services that attended. Never admit fault during these interactions or apologize for anything, as this can be taken out of context and used against you in court.
If you’ve suffered any injuries in the accident, you should also keep a diary of your levels of pain, and any medical procedures you’ve had to have, or any medication you’ve had to take. A letter from your doctor is a great way to back up your claims. It’s not just physical injuries that are taken into account for a compensation claim; Psychological trauma is just as valid, and should also be documented. You should also keep any receipts for anything you’ve had to buy or pay for because of the accidents, such as car repairs, transportation, and medical bills, and have a letter from your employer declaring how much income you are missing out on being unable to work. This will all be useful in court when the judge has to decide how much compensation to award you.
Contact The Relevant People
It may not be possible to contact your insurance provider at the scene of the accident, but you should try to do it within 24 hours of the accident. They will advise you of the next steps that you should take. If you plan to make a compensation claim, you will want to find a car accident lawyer to represent you in court. You will give your lawyer all of the information that you have gathered, and they will present it to the judge as best as they can. Some people choose to represent themselves in court, to avoid having to pay for a lawyer, but unless you are a lawyer yourself, it is much more sensible to have the experience and knowledge of a professional behind you.
Car accidents are traumatic experiences, no matter how severe, so try not to beat yourself up if you forget to do something like getting a contact number or the other driver’s insurance details. Often, there is always a way to get the information you need, and people will be understanding if you’ve forgotten something.