A report by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) showed that about 36,120 people succumbed to car crashes in 2019. While these cases were 1.2% down from 2018, car crashes have been common over the years. Do you know what to do after a minor car accident?
Car accidents can leave you injured and confused. Yet, it is crucial to understand the steps you ought to take after a car accident to help you deal with the crash’s aftermath.
Here is our comprehensive guide on the steps you need to take following a car accident.
Deal With Emergencies
The first thing you ought to do when you get in a car accident is call 911 for emergency services. In the meantime, check for injuries. If you’ve got injuries, avoid moving as you can escalate the issue.
You should check on the state of other car occupants if you’re able to move. Request a bystander for assistance even as you wait for the emergency response. Some injuries might need immediate first aid.
For a minor accident, you might be tempted to just to drive away. Resist! You need to wait for the police to get an official report to avoid future conflicts.
Protect the Accident Scene
An accident in the middle of a busy highway can cause chaos to other road users. In fact, it can lead to more accidents, especially at night. You might want to protect the accident scene to prevent further crashes.
Keep your car flashers on and set up flares to warn other vehicles. In case your lights have been rendered dysfunctional by the crash, use a flashlight. It will also help to clear everyone out of the scene if there’s a possible risk of explosion.
If your car is still operational, move it away from the main road. You might want to take pictures or videos before doing so to avoid messing with crucial evidence. For a car that can’t move, leave it as it is with adequate warning signs, and get yourself to safety.
Call the Police and Record Your Statement
Calling the police shouldn’t depend on the severity of the injury. If you don’t know what to do after a minor car accident, this step is arguably one of the most important. The police report will help you when filing for a claim.
Besides, a police report will prove resourceful when finding a car accident lawyer as most attorneys use such details to determine if your case is viable. Ensure that you tell the police officer investigating the case every detail of the accident. Avoid misstating things, guessing, or speculating as it might work against you when pursuing your case.
The police report should be as comprehensive and as accurate as possible. See to it that the other party has also provided an accurate turn of events. Providing the right details from every involved party will reduce conflicts that are likely to arise when pursuing compensation.
Document the Accident
The first crucial step in documenting the accident is to take pictures. Unless you’re severely injured, it will help take pictures of the crashed cars from diverse angles to show the extent of the damage. Pictures of your injuries can also come in handy during the claim process.
It is best to take pictures before the police arrive to avoid interfering with the investigation. Keep the pictures safely for future reference.
As part of documenting the accident, you’ll also need to note down the names and contact details of involved parties, including the other car’s occupants. Talk to witnesses and note down their details if they are okay with it. Ensure that you have the name and relevant details of the responding officers.
Exchange Relevant Information
People who don’t know what to do after a minor car accident might not be familiar with the information to exchange at the scene of the accident with the other driver. As a rule of thumb, never apologize! The minute you do so, you have admitted fault, and the case after that might work against you.
The only information that you ought to exchange with the other driver include;
- Name and contact details
- Driver’s license
- The insurer and policy number
- Location of the accident
- Details of the vehicle
The adjuster will look at all the details to determine the at-fault party. The supporting documents such as photographs and police reports will be resourceful in the claim process.
Report to Your Insurer
Auto insurance fraud accounts for up to 17% of total claim payments. To curb this fraud, insurers have been analyzing cases critically to ensure that they don’t pay for a feigned accident. It is crucial to report to your insurer about the accident as soon as possible and with the right details to have your claim approved.
Check whether your cover has medical benefits to make it easier for you to seek needed medical care. Medpay is the cover used to pay for medical bills related to an accident. You’ll only use your private health insurance after exhausting Medpay.
After a car crash, victims face considerable financial strains, especially if they can’t work anymore. The car accident vehicle damage can also be quite costly for the victim. As such, it is crucial to report to the insurer to kickstart the claim process for rightful compensation.
While at it, get a professional car accident lawyer to walk with you. The claim process is often complicated, and you might end up settling for an amount that’s doesn’t address your needs. Besides, the insurance company will have a lawyer, and chances are that they will try hard to reject your claim or offer you unreasonable compensation.
Now You Know What to Do After a Minor Car Accident
Most drivers wouldn’t know what to do after a minor car accident. It is crucial to understand what to do after a car accident to ensure that you get the right compensation. Getting a car accident lawyer should be a priority as car crash cases tend to be complex.
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