Car accidents are dangerous, frightening, and costly (not to mention deadly in the most tragic cases). Even if you drive as safe as humanely possible, there are always moments where staying out of an accident is fully out of your control, as there are drivers out there that drive distractedly every time they get on the road. To help you ensure you handle the accident effectively in these unfortunate situations, here are the seven things you simply must do if you’re in a car accident:
1. Ensure that Everyone is Safe and Uninjured
The most important task to be performed post-accident is making sure that everyone involved is safe and sound. In ideal situations, everyone will be fine, and ready to take on the other steps on this list. However, there will, unfortunately, be situations where some of the people involved will need assistance, either because they are trapped in their vehicle, or because they are dealing with a serious injury. Driving a safe, well-rated car will help protect you during accidents as well.
2. If Needed, Seek Medical Attention
When you find yourself in an unfortunate situation where someone has been injured during an accident, it’s crucial that you immediately seek out medical attention. Use your phone to call 911, and if you do not have access to a phone, flag another driver down to ensure you can get medical services at the scene ASAP. While you’re waiting for the medical services to arrive, step in and perform first-aid if possible (but only if you have the training to do so safely and effectively)!
3. Stay at the Scene
You must never flee the scene of an accident. Even if it’s a minor fender-bender, fleeing the accident can put you in a situation where you will suddenly become financially or criminally responsible. If someone has been injured in the crash, or your vehicle has become inoperable, it’s especially critical that you remain at the scene. Doing so will keep you safe, out of legal trouble, and assured that you’ve taken all the steps you need to before actually leaving the scene.
4. If Needed, Contact the Police
Not all accidents require police involvement, especially if it’s a simple fender-bender situation where all that needs to happen is the swapping of pictures, personal information, and insurance details. However, if substantial property/vehicle damage has occurred, or if there are injuries at the scene, calling the police is crucial. Not only can they ensure the law is followed, but they can assist medical services to ensure everyone leaves the scene safely.
5. Take Down all the Driver and Accident Information You Need
As we mentioned above, you must take down all the needed information revolving around the accident before leaving the scene. Taking pictures of the location of the accident, and the damage to both vehicles, are especially critical. Trade insurance information and personal contact information with everyone involved in the accident as well. Depending on your particular situation, other information may be needed, so it’s important to always play this step of the process by ear. If you are not at fault for the accident, you must contact Chicago accident lawyers, to guide you through the legal process.
6. Get on the Same Page with Everyone Else Involved in the Accident
Outside of taking information down, it’s also crucial that you make sure you have an understanding of what occurred that matches that of everyone else involved in the accident. If everyone cannot get on the same page, that might become the time when police involvement may become necessary to get an official account. Either way, let your insurer know about the situation, and make sure they are up-to-date on the details, as this is crucial for staying financially and legally safe.
7. Keep a Close Eye on Your Health Post-Accident
It can be difficult to know whether or not you’ve been injured immediately following an accident. Extreme soreness, whiplash, and other serious conditions can develop the day or hours after an accident occurs, after all. To ensure you have all the legal information you need, and to ensure you stay healthy post-accident, be sure to keep a close eye on your health in the days after an accident happens. Otherwise, you may find yourself surprised in a way that becomes extremely frustrating in the days that follow your accident. Taking care of yourself post-accident will ensure you stay healthy and spry.
Accidents are Serious Business
While accidents are extremely stressful, you must find the composure you need to ensure you take all of these seven crucial steps if you find yourself involved in one. Otherwise, you open yourself up to many potential health, legal and financial consequences that will ruin your year. Thankfully, those around you at the scene of the accident will help you complete these seven steps in a clear, concise, and effective manner.