Car accidents are devastating, and there are more than 6 million of them across the United States every year (driverknowledge.com). With how prevalent and dangerous car accidents are, it’s unfortunate that many people are entirely unaware of what they should do after experiencing one. Moreover, a failure to act accordingly after an accident can make things much, much worse than they already were. You could wind up with undiscovered and deadly internal injuries, may fail to report your side of the story adequately to insurance or the police, or worse. So, what should you do after a car accident? Well, follow these tips from the car accident lawyers here at Cutter Law P.C., and you should be alright.
1 – STOP! Never Flee The Scene Of An Accident
Never, under any circumstances, flee the scene of an accident, even if no one suffered an injury and no property incurred damages. Continuing on your way, even after a mild fender-bender, is against the law. In some cases, fleeing an accident can count as a felony offense (called a hit-and-run). For California, hit-and-run accidents are described in Vehicle Code 20002 VC, and involve serious penalties. So, regardless of the severity of your accident, stay on-scene and report the incident to the proper authorities.
2 – Defend The Scene Of The Accident
Once both drivers have stopped, it’s time to defend the scene. However, if you’re seriously injured, then do not move and contact the authorities. If you’re mobile after the accident, set up road flares and turn on the emergency flashers on your vehicle. Also, if the other driver hasn’t exited their vehicle, check on them to make sure they’re alright and ensure they turn on their lights and flashers as you did.
If your accident happened at night, then make sure you turn on as many lights around the scene as possible. Ensure you turn on the dome lights inside your car, hold a lit flashlight (if you have one), and make sure all the flares and reflectors are clearly visible.
3 – Call 911
Once you’ve made the scene as safe as possible, and all involved parties are safely waiting in their vehicle, or at the side of the road, then call 911. During the call, report:
- The severity of the accident, including any injuries and whether an ambulance is necessary or not.
- Your accident’s location. Be as precise as possible.
- Whether the vehicles involved impede traffic or not.
- The makes, models, and colors of the vehicles involved.
- Also report the number of people involved in the accident, including drivers, passengers, and pedestrians.
- Any fatalities incurred during the accident.
Telling the 911 operator all the things mentioned above both helps them determine the types of emergency services to dispatch and how urgent the situation is or isn’t.
4 – Take Pictures And Make A Detailed Record Of The Accident
After you’ve finished your call to the authorities, you should begin documenting the accident as accurately as possible. Take several pictures of both vehicles, any injuries suffered by either party and any property damage incurred during the accident. Then, make sure you document the accident, including the events leading up to the accident, the damages incurred, and the approximate time everything happened. This record may help in a court of law down the road. So, the more detailed and accurate your record, the better off you’ll be.
5 – Exchange Information With The Other Driver
Often, the police officer(s) assigned to the scene take care of this part. However, if your accident isn’t blocking the road and no injuries occurred, then the police may not be necessary or show up on the scene. So, if the police didn’t come, then exchange information with the other driver, including insurance policy and provider, name, addresses, phone numbers, and email addresses. Get the names, addresses, and phone numbers of every non-driver involved in the accident as well.
6 – Report The Accident To Your Insurance Provider
Make sure you report the accident to your insurance provider as soon as possible following a car accident. In fact, several insurance providers and policies require policyholders to report accidents immediately following the incident. In the report, ensure you include the other driver’s name, address, phone number, insurance provider, and policy number. Also, make sure to include the details of the accident, including what happened, where it happened, and any injuries suffered by either party involved.
7 – Seek Medical Attention
Even if you don’t think you’ve suffered any injuries, always seek immediate medical attention following a car accident. You may have internal injuries. So, after a car accident, make sure you and any passenger in your vehicle head straight to your doctor, a hospital, or an emergency medical clinic right away. Remember, internal injuries are often asymptomatic and require a professional medical diagnosis. Please don’t risk it.
8 – Contact The Car Accident Lawyers At Cutter Law P.C.
Unfortunately, due to the way insurance companies often operate, you’ll often need the helping hand of a professional auto accident attorney following a car accident. You’ll especially need one if there were any injuries involved. But, if you’ve suffered due to a car accident, then don’t fret. The Cutter Law P.C. car accident lawyers are always here to represent you and your interests in a court of law. So, contact us for a no-obligation consultation today!