Essential Steps You Need to Take When a Car Accident Occurs

Car Accidents - Negosentro
Credit: | Essential Steps You Need to Take When a Car Accident Occurs | According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), more than six million car accidents occur each year in the United States. Fortunately, most of the accidents involve property damage as opposed to deaths. But one in three accidents involves personal injury to the driver or passengers. Two out of every ten road accidents lead to fatal injuries.  

Of all the U.S. states, Texas consistently leads in the number of traffic accident fatalities. Approximately 3,000 people are killed in automotive accidents in Texas each year. The accidents are caused by drivers who make driving errors, careless or reckless driving, or a total disregard for safety laws. Some accidents are also due to a defective part on the vehicle.

When an accident occurs, injuries may be serious and emotions can run high. However, there are essential steps that one needs to do at the scene and after the accident.

Below we have listed the important steps to take when a car accident occurs.  

Contact the Police
If there are substantial damages to the property, physical injury or death, it is very important to call the police. Each state in America has its own police report.  A Texas accident or crash report is officially called a CR3 Peace Officer Report. Texas law enforcement records the details of the accident including any kind of automobile. After an accident, ask how you can acquire a copy of your Austin accident report as soon as the police have filed it. Request for the name and badge numbers of the officers. If the police are unable to come to the scene of the accident, go to the nearest police station to complete the report yourself. When filing for a claim from your insurance company, they may ask for a copy of the police report.

Remain at the scene
One must never leave the accident scene until it is appropriate or safe to do so. If you leave specifically right after someone has received life-threatening injuries or was killed, it is possible that you may have to face tough criminal charges for being a hit and run driver. Stay calm and cooperate with authorities when asked about the events that led to the accident.

Inspect on all the passengers and drivers
Before determining the damage to your car, make sure everyone concerned in the accident is okay. Dial 911, or get medical attention for anyone who needs it. If a person has lost consciousness or has pain around their back or neck, do not move them until a certified emergency medical team arrives.  If you’re alone and not to hurt to move, ask a bystander to call for help. When you know your car is safe to drive and is causing an obstruction where it is, pull it to the side of the road, otherwise leave it and get yourself to a safe space.

Swap information
Request for the names, numbers, addresses, driver’s license numbers, plate numbers and necessary insurance information from all drivers or cars involved. If there are passengers, it is essential to also obtain their details. Tempers or emotions may be high after an accident so try and remain polite and respectful.  After the accident, it may not be clear who was primarily at fault. So be careful when pointing fingers or admitting guilt unintentionally.

Ask a witness
Ask every witness what they saw about the accident. This will help in getting the truth, or both sides of the story. Write down their contact details- names, numbers or addresses. This may aid in determining who was at fault and come in handy when the police file their report. Also, inquire from the locals in the area if they have encountered similar accidents in the same place.

Get in touch with your insurance company
Inform your insurance company as soon as you can that you have been involved in a vehicular accident. Be truthful and cooperative about the technicalities and the degree of your physical injuries. Discuss the facts precisely. There are serious repercussions for lying to an insurance company. Not only will your coverage be denied but they could inform authorities. Get a copy of the police report so you have supporting evidence on who broke the law or was at fault.

Keep copies of your medical treatment and bills
File any doctor’s appointments that you receive after the accident. Not all medical professionals that attended to you and keep track of the medications and expenses. Obtain copies of all reports and bills so this will help support your claims later.  Do not forget to include the number of days you have missed from work, and the normal activities that you are unable to do.

Photograph the scene
Document and photograph any damage to your car as soon as possible after the accident. Photographs can assist your insurance company to determine how much you can be compensated for the damage of your car. This can also help you in court should there be a case filed against you. Supply supporting photographs of your car before the accident which can provide a good contrast to show the magnitude of damage.

Get an appraisal
Acquire an evaluation of property damage from your insurance company. If you are skeptical of the figures, it is always advisable to get a second opinion from a reputable car shop on the costs of repair and replacement quotes. If you are unable to agree on the value of your car, you might want to consider the need for mediation or the assistance of an attorney.

Be cautious who you talk to
Try not to talk about the accident to anyone but your lawyer, insurance company and the police. Refrain from talking to a representative from another insurance company without the knowledge of your own lawyer and insurer. If you are contacted by the other party’s insurance company, be cordial and ask them to call your attorney or insurer to set up a meeting.

In closing, try to be on guard if you are offered a quick settlement from an insurance company. Validate all your injuries that need to be treated. Try not to settle a claim until you know you will be completely compensated for all the injuries and damages incurred by the accident. Always consult with an attorney before signing any documents so you are fully aware of your rights. 

An accident may leave you frazzled, but following these steps can help protect you and get your vehicle repaired as swiftly as possible.