Driving is a risky business and with over 270 registered vehicles in the United States, chances are it’s only a matter of time before you experience some kind of car accident. As a matter of fact, if you haven’t been in a car accident, you should consider yourself extremely lucky. Statistics say that you will file a claim for a collision about once every 17.9 years. That means that if you got your driving license at age 16, there is a big chance that you will experience some sort of car crash by the time you are 34. Or, if we put it over the course of a long driving lifetime, you should have a total of three to four car accidents in your life. The good news is that most of these car collisions won’t be deadly since just three out of every one thousand accidents involve fatalities.
In reality, even a seasoned driver may feel unsure of what to do right after a car crash. While preparation cannot prevent it from happening, it can surely help in order to limit the damage in the moments afterward and the days which follow. Taking part in a car crash is a shocking and frustrating ordeal nobody wants to experience. A fine preparation in advance can do no harm and could save your life and potentially hundreds if not thousands of your hard-earned dollars.
In this article, we are going to cover all the things you should do after you have taken part in such an event.
#1 Stop and check for injuries
You are peacefully driving while listening to your favorite song on the radio when another vehicle slams into your car. The damage is done and there is no turning back. What should you do right now?
First things first, there is nothing more important than your health and wellbeing. Even though it’s going to be really difficult to remain calm and focused – that’s exactly what you should do. Stop immediately and check for injuries. After you make sure everything is OK with you, get out of the vehicle and check on everyone else involved in the car crash.
#2 Call 911 if there is anyone injured
If anyone sustained an injury in the process, don’t wait and call 911 to get the proper help. Let the dispatcher know about the sustained injuries or fatalities you can speak of, and make sure they are made aware of any hazards that emergency medical services and police should know before they arrive at the scene.
Use the closest address or mile marker when describing the location through the phone. Describe absolutely everything that you can think of which may help the medical service in order to arrive quickly and act right away such as the direction you were traveling and which side of the road your car is on.
#3 Deal with the police
When the police arrive at the crash scene, make sure you thoroughly follow their instructions since they are highly trained in accident investigations. Stay present at the scene and answer any questions they ask honestly. The police officers are authorized to coordinate the care and transport of the injured, make the necessary arrangements to have the disabled cars towed, secure the scene, issue traffic citations, verify insurance information of the drivers, make arrests when needed, collect evidence and file a police crash report.
With the filing of a police crash report, the police gather all the necessary information about the car accident such as driver information, vehicle data, and injury reports. Also known as the CR3 Peace Officer Report, the sole custodian for these kinds of reports for the state of Texas is The Texas Department of Transportation. Under the Texas Transportation Code §550.062, any law enforcement officer who investigates a motor vehicle crash that results in injury or the death of a person or damage to the property of $1,000 and more, must submit a written report of the crash to the Texas Department of Transportation not later than the 10th day after the date of the accident.
These reports which are very important in order to file a claim with your insurance agency, are also made available online, in a registry updated on an everyday basis with all the car accidents that occurred in the precinct. You can search the online police crash records by location, like an Austin police accident report or a Dallas police accident report, or with the knowledge of the car model, the manufacturing year or the date the accident occurred.
#4 Collect evidence and information
In order to prove that another driver caused property damage and injuries, collecting evidence and general information about the car accident are really important. Write down everything that is relevant and take photos of the crash scene, vehicle registrations, and every important detail if possible. This way you make sure that other people involved in the accident won’t change their story in the latter stages.
#5 Notify your insurance company
Don’t waste time and reach out to your insurance company as soon as you can. You already have a vehicle insurance policy which practically is a contract between you and your insurance company. One of your obligations out of the insurance policy is to notify the company right after the accident, regardless of who caused it. This way the company will be able to provide better protection for you if the other driver decides to file a claim against you.
#6 Reach out to a car accident attorney
What happens if the accident settlement falls short of covering your injuries and damages or your insurance claim is denied? You reach out to a highly-skilled car accident attorney to help you with your case. Even for the initial consultation, make sure you bring copies of your medical records and bills, car crash reports, photos, statements of witnesses and every other relevant piece of information or evidence related to the accident. The attorney will review your case and afterward will let you know about the potential value of your claim, or if they believe that the claim will settle or if the claim could be tried in court.