Car accidents happen every single day of the year in the US. Some are just minor bumps where no-one is injured, but others have serious consequences for those involved. If you find yourself in an accident situation, there are certain things that need to be done, so what should you do after a car accident?
Check For Injuries
The very first thing that should be done after any car accident is checking all drivers and passengers to see if there are any injuries that need medical attention. If there are, the emergency services should be called, and unless the life of the injured party is in danger by leaving them where they are, they should not be moved until the right help has arrived.
You should also be aware that not all injuries are immediately apparent. Whiplash, for instance, can take up to 12 hours to manifest, and people with this injury often think they have not been hurt until they start to suffer from the pain and stiffness in the neck that are the main symptoms of whiplash.
Internal injuries can also be a problem. They can be extremely dangerous, but cannot be seen visually. If anyone has any pain, dizziness, or other symptoms, they should be medically checked out as soon as possible.
Gathering information about the accident is vital, particularly if you want a car accident attorney to fight for compensation. As long as you are not badly injured, you should make notes of:
- When and where the accident happened
- The road and weather conditions at the time of the accident
- Details of the other vehicles involved
- Details from the other drivers, such as name, address, and insurance information. It can also be useful to have their driver’s license number and a telephone number for easy contact
- Names, addresses, and contact information for any passengers in or witnesses to the accident
- As many pictures as possible. This does not mean you should carry a camera around with you. Most people have cell phones with cameras, and pictures taken on those are usually acceptable. Photos can be a good way of recording the damage to all the vehicles involved, and the road and weather conditions.
- No matter who was at fault, try to stay calm and deal with matters in an amicable manner. Never admit to any liability or get aggressive with whoever you think was to blame, as this can go against you at a later date.
It is not a bad idea, while it is still fresh in your mind, to draw a diagram of how you think the accident happened. This can help if you are questioned about it later.
Establish A Record Of Everything
You need to make sure that all concerned parties have a record of the accident, starting with the officers called to the scene of the accident. If the cops were not called, you should notify them of what has taken place. They will compile an accident report, which can be critical if you decide to make a compensation claim.
Get checked out medically, to establish a record of your condition after the accident.
You should inform your insurance company of the event, but do not settle with them until a reliable car accident attorney has looked at your case. Insurance companies will often try for a quick settlement, hoping that you take their first offer. They have a duty to their shareholders to keep settlements as low as possible, but you should not lose out because of that, and a good car accident attorney will make sure you don’t.
Talk To Your Car Accident Attorney About Compensation
Your car accident attorney is the best person to advise you on what steps to take next, and if you should claim compensation. The law in the US regarding personal injuries and car accident claims is complex but is not just limited to immediate injuries and repairs.
Medical costs can be claimed for, whether they are short-term or long-term. Also, the expense of tests, x-rays, examinations, support, and rehabilitation would come within the cover of the medical costs. There could also be the need for 24-hour care, whether that is in the home or in a clinic. It does happen that sometimes a victim is so seriously injured they are no longer able to look after themselves, and having carers is essential.
If someone loses time from work to recover from their injuries, the lost wages can be claimed for. This also is the case if they are not able to return to work because of their injuries or have to work reduced hours. If the injury is a permanent disability and their earning capacity is reduced, the cost of retraining or further education can also be claimed for.
Lifestyle changes are another consideration. If the victim led a very active life and maybe took part in a sport, and after the accident, they can no longer play, that lifestyle change may be claimed for. If this is your situation, you should inform your car accident attorney of any changes to your life caused by the accident.
Trying To Avoid The Accidents
It does not matter how good you are at driving, trying to avoid accidents that are not your fault is impossible. If the other driver is being reckless or careless, maybe chatting on their cell phone or not concentrating for some other reason, there is nothing you can do. If a driver is speeding, jumps a red light or is under the influence of alcohol, even if you try as hard as you can to prevent it, an accident is still likely to happen.
All you can hope is that all involved survive the accident with no serious injuries. Unfortunately, that is not always the case. The latest figures available show that for 2016, over 37,000 people died in road traffic accidents in the US. This figure is still far too high, but it has come down quite a bit from several years between 1966 and 1980, where the road accident deaths in the US exceeded well over 50,000 a year.
The roads carry far more traffic than they did back then, but cars are designed to be safer and roads are planned to be less dangerous. All that is needed now is to somehow reduce the driver errors that cause most of these car accidents and then, hopefully, there will be fewer victims and victims’ families suffering unnecessarily.