Cars are brilliant for getting around, and whether you have a large family in tow or have a long commute, the humble car is popular for a reason. They get us about, take no physical exertion on our part, and while they may not be so good for the environment, there is something primally appealing about the roar of an engine.
Though you may be a good driver with an excellent vehicle and track record, even you could get caught up in an accident on the road. Most accidents are mere bumps that don’t cause any life-threatening injuries, but you should still be aware of what you should do if the worst happens.
Here are just rules to follow so that you are well prepared and know the law.
Never Drive Away
Driving away from a car accident, especially a car accident you have caused, is the worst form of cowardice and you must not do it. Pull over in a safe place and get out of your car to assess whether everyone is okay. This applies whether you have hit another vehicle, a pedestrian or a cyclist and is the most important thing you can do. Even if you have hit an empty car in a car park, you must pull over and assess any damage.
If you do drive away, you may end up with either a parking ticket or worse a felony hit and run charge which could result in large fines or even up to 15 years in prison depending on the injuries of the people you left behind.
Even when you are not the cause of the accident (and sometimes it is difficult to tell), you must still pull over. You might have sustained injuries you are not yet aware of, and you still have an obligation to stop. If you are the victim of a hit and run, try to get a license plate, make and model and call the police to report the crime. Calling immediately will mean that you won’t have to remember everything later, you can just report on the spot.
Make Sure Everyone is Okay
Once you have pulled over and you have assessed your injuries (if there are any) you have a duty to check anyone else who was involved. If necessary, you should perform basic first aid and call for an ambulance immediately.
If you sustain any injuries in an accident and you can call an ambulance for yourself, don’t wait for someone else to do it for you, get straight on the phone. Ideally, you will have a first aid kit in your car already so you can start to do some basic first aid on yourself such as taking painkillers and using gauze pads to press against any wounds to stop bleeding.
You may wish to seek the advice of a lawyer after the accident to seek claims to cover any medical expenses, the time is taken off work or other compensation. Choose injury lawyers committed to helping victims and explain your accident and reasons for contacting them. They will be able to handle your case for you so that you won’t have to worry.
Call the Police and Collect Evidence
However small you think the accident is, you should always call the police to file a report. Your police report will make any insurance claims much easier to fill out and should you develop any symptoms of injury later on; you will be more likely to be able to seek compensation at a later date. In some jurisdictions, failing to contact the police is considered a misdemeanor offense.
If you have a camera, take photos of the accident scene including close-ups of any damage and longer shots to show the whole car. You should also collect the insurance details of the other driver involved and a photo of them if they consent. As a minimum you should take down a name, address, phone number, make, model and registration number of their car and their insurance carrier and policy number.
Most car accidents are easily solved and won’t leave any lasting injuries. If you follow these simple rules, you shouldn’t encounter any further problems with claiming on your insurance for fixes or compensation for lost time or work product as a consequence.
No one wants to be in a car accident, but you should make sure that you are fully prepared should the worst happen. We don’t like to think of it, but every time we get on the road, there is a small chance that an accident will occur.
Fortune favors the prepared.