Steps to Take Following A Car Accident
With more than 270 million vehicles on the road, there’s little doubt that Americans love driving. That’s especially true in the spring and summer when the weather is nice and millions of Americans travel near and far to camp, fish, boat and engage in dozens of other leisure activities.
Having so many vehicles on the road however, means that there’s high potential for car accident. It’s estimated that there are six million car accidents in the U.S. every year and an average of 102 fatal car accidents each day. It doesn’t matter if you’re driving a small car or a huge SUV; if you’re young or old; if you’re a safe driver or an unsafe driver; car accidents happen all the time and often without warning.
If you’re involved in a car accident, you can experience a range of emotions. You can be angry, scared, sad and in shock. That’s to say nothing of the severity of the accident. While you can easily move on from a small fender bender, other car accidents are more severe and potentially life altering.
While ideally no one wants to be involved in a car accident, it’s important to know what car accident steps to take in the event you are involved in one:
Check Your Condition
The first thing you need to do in your check list of car accident steps to check yourself out. You’re likely in shock from being in an accident, but you need to make sure you’re alright. Even the most minor car accidents can effect a person. If you’re rear ended for example, you might have some whiplash if you were thrown forward in your seat. If it’s a more severe accident, you might have bruises or you might bleeding. If you find that you’re seriously hurt, call 911 immediately.
Get To Safety
Being involved in a car accident can be shocking, but it’s important that you get yourself to safety. If you can, move your car to a safe place such as the road shoulder. If your car can’t be moved for whatever reason, flip on your hazard lights so your car doesn’t get clipped.
It may seem obvious, but you’re also going to want to stop your car and then get out.
Check On Other Parties
It doesn’t matter if you’re at fault for the accident or not, you need to check on the other parties involved. If someone is in need of medical attention, call 911.
Call The Police
Whether you’re in a minor fender bender or a more serious crash, you need to call the police. If you’re wondering why, it’s because having a police report of the incident is invaluable for some of the car accident steps you’re going to need to take going forward, especially when you’re dealing with an insurance company.
When you’re talking to the police, it’s important to note that you need to let the police do the investigating. Talk to the authorities, but don’t admit fault or blame the other party.
In the immediate aftermath of a car accident, it’s probably too early to determine whether or not you’re going to need the services of an auto accident attorney, but you need to gather as much information as you can.
What kind of information do you need? In the accident aftermath, you need the following:
- License plate numbers
- Insurance info
- The name of the other party and names of any passengers
- The location of the accident
- Contact information for any witnesses to the accident
File A Claim
One of the most important car accident steps you’ll need to take is filing an insurance claim. Whether you’re a truck driver with commercial auto insurance or just an average Joe with comprehensive car insurance, you need to contact your insurance agent and file a claim.
Taking Legal Action
In the aftermath of a car accident, taking legal action might seem like one of the more drastic car accident steps to take. But if you’ve been injured in an accident or a passenger in your car has been injured, you have grounds to take legal action.
You may wonder why you should seek the services of personal injury attorneys. The simplest answer is that if you’re injured in a car accident, your insurance company can only do so much to help you. Whether you know it or not, some insurance companies are only looking out for their bottom line and you could end up with a settlement that’s much less than you may be entitled to.
With experienced legal help, you can get fair compensation. With that in mind, it’s important to know what exactly you can take legal action for. If you’re seeking damages, you can take legal action for the following:
- Car repairs
- Pain and suffering
- Medical expenses
- The cost of a new car, that is assuming yours is totaled
Bottom line: if your life has been significantly altered by a car accident where you’ve been injured or even had to miss work, a lawyer can review the accident and know how to structure a lawsuit in your favor. Cases like these can be strengthened in your favor if it’s proven the other party engaged in dangerous behavior such as tailgating, drinking and driving, talking on the phone while driving or texting while driving.
If the other party is at fault, especially in cases of drinking and driving, they may hire a DUI defense attorney for legal representation. But if your attorney can prove negligence on the part of the other party, they may end up having to pay some of the costs associated with any settlement you get.
If you are considering legal action, the good news is that a personal injury attorney or motorcycle accident attorney can go to bat for you. They have experience in cases just like yours, they’ll go over all the ins-and-outs of your case and they’ll make sure you get a fair settlement that can help you pay for medical expenses, everyday expenses and help you get back on your feet.
Avoiding An Accident
Obviously there are many car accident steps you can and should take if you get into an accident. But one of the most important steps you can also take is doing your best to avoid an accident at all.
How best to avoid an accident you ask? There are actually many ways you do this:
- Be aware of traffic: As a driver you already know about the importance of paying attention to traffic. But to avoid car accidents, take extra care when it comes to traffic. Check your blind spots, look in all directions at intersections and pay attention to all road signs.
- Be careful at lights: We all know it’s important to stop at red lights. But It’s also important to watch for red light runners or people trying to goose it through yellow lights. If you do stop at a red light, wait a second or two after the light turns green to avoid potential collisions.
- Pay attention: One of the most important car accident steps you can take to avoid an accident altogether is to keep your eyes on the road. Limit—or better off eliminate—any distractions such as cell phones, music players or eating and drinking. Taking your eyes off the road for even a few seconds can have potentially disastrous consequences.
- Look ahead: When you took driver’s training as a teen, you likely learned about the importance of scanning ahead as you drive. It’s recommended that you can 10-12 seconds ahead and make sure you’re far enough from the cars around you in case you need to swerve or brake suddenly.
- Don’t tailgate: It’s also recommended that you leave about a three-second cushion between your vehicle and the vehicle in front of you. Speeding and tailgating aren’t going to get you where you’re going any faster. Tailgating doesn’t help anyone and you’ll likely end up in an auto collision body repair shop to repair your front end or fix your front bumper if you’re riding too close. Repair shops can do great work to make your car look as good as new, but it’s best to also be courteous on the road.
Fixing Your Car
Among the car accident steps you’ll have to take if you’re involved in accident, one of them is figuring out how to get your car fixed if it’s damaged.
The first thing you’ll need to do is make a claim with your insurance company. Once that’s done and your claim is processed, you’ll likely be giving a list of auto repair and body shops you can go to to have your car repaired. If you’ve got towing as part of your insurance, you can even have your car towed from the scene of the accident.
For whichever body shop you go to, they will look at the damage and determine what can be done with your car. In some cases, your car may declared totaled. But in many cases, a shop will be able to get your car ready for the road again. If you need diesel repair to fix your pickup or semi-truck, an auto body shop will get it up and running. Likewise, a collision will be able to make essential repairs like an auto brake repair, so you’re not taking any risks on the road.
Regardless of the repairs that are made, at the end of it all you should end up paying is whatever your insurance deductible is—roughly $500 or $600 depending on your insurance plan.
Getting A New Car
If your car is totaled as a result of an accident, the last of the important car accident steps to make is to get yourself a new ride. If your car is totaled, you will more than likely get a check from your insurance company for the value of the car relative to its condition and value in the Kelly Blue Book.
If you’re in the market for a new car, these tips can help you find the perfect ride:
Get A Car You Need
You might have your eye on a Salvage Dodge Viper for sale in a local used car lot, but that may not be the best choice. Maybe you need something with good gas mileage or something big enough to accommodate your family. The key is to prioritize need over want and also get something that fits your budget.
In any case of shopping for a car, you want to get the most bang for your buck. That’s why it pays to do some research before you buy. Let’s say you live in an area with harsh winters and you want a vehicle with four wheel transmission, more commonly known as four-wheel drive. Having a vehicle with four wheel drive can help you have better control on the road and by doing some research into local dealerships you can find the right vehicle with all the specs you’re looking for.
Consider Your Options
If you’re in the market for a new car, the important thing to remember is that you have choices. That includes the choice of whether to buy a used car or a new car. A new car might sound enticing, but you can get a used car with decent mileage for an affordable price. It really just depends on your needs and what you’re willing to spend.
By following these tips and taking the right car accident steps, you’ll know just what to do in the event of an accident. Regardless of the nature of your accident, you’ll be able to take legal action (if necessary), properly file an insurance claim, deal with an auto body collision repair shop and ultimately by a new car in the event that you need one.
No one wants to be involved in a car accident, but the fact is that they happen all the time. By knowing what to do and how to act in the event of an accident, you’ll make the process much easier for yourself and everyone else involved.