Here’s a great blog post by El Dabe Ritter trial lawyers, a team of Los Angeles personal injury lawyers. The first question many drivers have is what to do in the moments following a car accident. It’s a fair question, and one all people should know the answer to prior to being involved in one. Hopefully, you’ll never be involved in a car accident but if you are, it helps to know what to do to keep yourself and your family safe in the moments following. It’s easy to forget what you should do, to become confused, and to question what’s right. It’s a confusing and scary time, and fear and adrenaline combine with shock to create an uncomfortable situation. It’s up to you to remember there is a proper method of control you should initiate following an accident.
Remain Calm and on the Scene
It’s not always easy to remain calm when you’ve been involved in an accident. A flood of emotions is going to hit you the moment your car stops moving and realization sets in. Terror, fear, worry, anger, and panic might set in. The best thing you can do in this time is stay calm. If you must stop and take a few deep breaths to make that happen, please do so. Now you’re going to stay on the scene. There is no right or wrong answer about what to do next. In some cases, you’ll see signs on the side of the road urging drivers to remove accident vehicles from the middle of traffic.
This is for accident vehicles that aren’t serious. Fender benders is what this refers to, but you’ll want to snap photos of the accident before you move your car. Do not ever leave the scene of an accident, and do not allow the other driver to leave. You shouldn’t put yourself in harm’s way trying to keep the other driver on the scene, but encourage them to stay put while the police report to the scene.
Check on Everyone Involved
Do not ever move anyone with serious injuries or those who cannot move themselves. If someone is bleeding, try and find something to stop the bleeding. If you are unsure whether someone’s injuries are serious, do not move them. Wait for the police and medics to arrive. You can do far more damage to a person who has specific injuries by moving them. If the other people involved can move on their own, there’s very little to worry about. Check to see if everyone is all right or needs anything in the moment, and wait.
Call the Police
Chances are good someone else already called the police to report this accident, but never assume. Sometimes everyone assumes and no one calls. Report the accident using your whereabouts, the cars involved, your name, and any other information the emergency operator needs from you. Follow his or her instructions precisely, and do not do anything they tell you not to do. Now you wait for the police to arrive, but you can take Photos and Speak to Witnesses
Exchange Personal Information
You can do this with the other driver prior to the arrival of the police, or you can wait. It’s up to you, but you do want their name and contact information as well as a copy of their insurance policy number and company contact information. If you live in a state without ta no-fault rule, you’ll need this information to file your claim with their company.
Talk to Your Insurance Company
Once the police arrive, accident reports are written, and you are free to go, call the insurance company. Call yours and the at-fault driver’s company to report the accident and find out what to do next. If you end up losing your car, you can consult with an NYC car leases company like Zooomr to get help. If you still have questions or are interested in pursuing a lawsuit after you seek medical attention and learn the severity of your injuries, call a personal injury attorney to find out what rights you have, how long you have to file a lawsuit, and any other valuable information that might help your case.