In 2013, the US National Library of Medicine recorded a huge 54 million people were injured in car accidents worldwide. Everything from reckless driving to speeding can cause these accidents, and the consequences—for you, or others—can be fatal.
Luckily, most incidents don’t end with severe injury, but it’s still important to understand the process of what to do in a car crash, so that you’re totally protected.
Whether the crash was your fault, or someone else’s, there are several steps to take straight after the event. Crashes can be rear-end or head-on collisions, but whichever type of crash it is, it’s vital you’re prepared.
1. Try to stay calm
Easier said than done, but staying calm is the best way to approach an accident. This is particularly difficult if you’re certain the accident wasn’t your fault, as road rage can quickly appear. By keeping a cool head, you can ensure you get all the right paperwork completed without error; as this could causes issues in the claiming process if you’ve noted information down incorrectly.
It can be near impossible to stay calm after a crash, as there will be a million questions whirling through your mind. But, if you can take yourself away for a few deep breaths, or maintain a “matter of fact” attitude, the process will be quick and smooth.
2. Check for injuries, get to safety
Whether you’re alone, or driving with passengers, it’s important to check for injuries. Some injuries, such as whiplash, might not be immediately apparent. If you notice an injury, even if it’s minor, you should report these to first responders.
If you can, you should also try to move the car to a safe place away from the road. Make sure to put your hazards on, and apply the handbrake. While you wait for help, get out of the vehicle and stay safe on the sidewalk.
3. Contact the police and gather information
For severe crashes, you should always contact the authorities. While you wait for them to arrive, be sure to take note of the other driver’s name, insurance information, registration number, and anything else you might think important. You’ll also need to provide this information to the police, and give your details to the other driver.
When calling the police, don’t immediately blame either driver. An attorney or the police will determine who is at fault.
It’s also worth finding witness statements and taking photos of the scene, injuries, and each car that is involved.
4. Call the professionals
Lastly, make sure to call your insurance as quickly as you can. It might also be worth contacting a specialist attorney in your area. Horst Shewmaker, for example, are personal injury lawyers specializing in road incidents and offer free consultation calls.
As for your insurance, they will likely require any information about you and the other drivers involved, who else was in the car, and images of the damage. After the initial accident, insurance companies often request that you take your car to one of their garages so they can determine the cost of the damage.
Although the process is quite simple, it can be easy to forget certain information and panic. The most important advice is to stay calm and work through the procedure with the other driver, or with family members present for added support.