If you find yourself in a car accident, don’t panic as you need to do a couple of things to get out of trouble. In some cases, it can be difficult to prove your innocence after a crash. What’s even more damning is the fact that in the US alone, there are more than 38,000 registered fatalities on the roads.
While the fatality rate is quite low, the accident rate isn’t. On US roads, more than six million accidents happen each year. Chances are, you have been in one or know someone that has. So for future references, what can you do after an accident? Here is an article explaining the 5 things.
Stop Your Car
Accidents vary from case to case. Some are more severe than others, but most are simple bumps on the road. While nothing serious, even small bumps can cause massive financial damages. So regardless of what sort of accident you find yourself into, the first thing to do is stop the car.
The reason you do this is that if you do decide to drive away, then you’re 100% guilty in the eyes of the law. By stopping the car and waiting for a police officer to arrive, you can make your case. But if you ran off, not only will you get eventually caught, but you’ll be guilty.
Focus On Safety
Depending on the severity of the accident, it is your moral responsibility to protect yourself and the people around you. If the accident happens on a dark road, you must signal to oncoming drivers that there’s been an accident. Keep your vehicle’s flashers on and set up a flare 40-50 feet in the opposite direction. This will alert oncoming drivers that something is happening and they will slow down. If someone is injured, you must call 911 and make the person comfortable while they arrive at the scene.
Immediately after you’ve taken the necessary precautions, you have to call the police. Once they arrive, they will look at the scene and ask for your statement. You mustn’t move your vehicle unless it interferes with ongoing traffic.
The police will perform an investigation and you can file a claim for damages with your insurance company. If the accident is more serious and leaves your car crashed, then you’ll want to claim damages.
Give Your Statement
This is a very important part. The police will take your statement and what you say can have a serious effect on the outcome. Under no circumstances should you lie to the police. If you’re not sure about certain facts, make it known to the officer that you’re not 100% sure. Give an accurate statement and don’t omit key details. Never speculate, or try to guess what happens, as that won’t work in your favor. Tell the event as it unfolded.
The officer will ask if you’ve suffered any injuries. Since adrenalin can suppress feelings of pain, you might not experience any pain at the moment. So if you’re unsure about it, it’s best to say that. Until the police arrive, try to take statements from bystanders as these are witnesses. Thus, they can provide key details that both you and the other driver have missed.
In many cases, the statement of witnesses can determine the outcome of the case. In the meantime, call your lawyer and ask for ways to gather evidence. If you’re thinking about suing the other driver, they will tell you what sort of evidence you need to collect.
Take Pictures, Investigate, and Report the Accident
These are some of the things your lawyer will recommend doing. The first is to take photos of the accident. Take lots of photos from your smartphone. Take pictures of the car, the collision, the damages, any injuries you might have, etc. You do this as this is evidence in your case. If the police tell you to back off and stop taking photos, then do as they say.
Next, repeat the thing we mentioned in the previous point. As the police are conducting their investigation, take the time to interview witnesses. And lastly, report the accident to your insurance company. Insurance companies require immediate reporting of the accident – it’s how their insurance policies work. Give them a call and find out if your policy covers medical benefits.
You can do a lot after an accident. In many cases, what you do will dictate how successful you are in winning a potential case. Consult with your attorney and understand what rights you have. Take evidence and don’t interfere in police business.