After Impact: 7 Steps You Need To Take After Being In A Car Accident

After Impact: 7 Steps You Need To Take After Being In A Car Accident

Being in a car accident is a terrifying and stressful experience. Everything happens so quickly that it can be hard to keep a level head. The best way to be prepared in case of an accident is to learn what to do ahead of time. 

You may think this is unnecessary for you, but 77% of drivers will be in at least one accident in their life. If you live in an urban area, you’re even more at risk. In Chicago, for example, there were 21,881 non-fatal injuries due to car accidents in 2018.

If you live in a rural area, you’re less likely to be involved in an accident. However, despite there being fewer accidents in rural areas, there are more deaths as a result of those accidents. 

Combine those statistics with the fact that there are 6 million car accidents reported every year, and it becomes clear that this is something that can happen to anyone. Because you can’t completely prevent the possibility of an accident, you must be prepared just in case.

Here are the seven steps you need to take after being in a car accident. 

1. Determine If There Are Any Injuries

The first thing you should do after an accident is to determine if you or anyone else involved in the accident is injured. If someone is injured, you shouldn’t move them unless instructed to do so by an emergency responder. Moving an injured person could result in further injury, especially if their neck or spine has been affected.

If someone is hurt, you should report it to 911 immediately and give as much information as possible. This allows them to warn the ambulance crew what to expect and can help save time when they arrive.

2. Call 911 For Assistance

If someone has been injured, there’s major property damage, or the accident scene is creating a hazard, you need to call 911. They will be able to decide which emergency services you need and get them sent out to you.

If no one is injured, there’s no major damage, and the cars are driveable and not blocking traffic, you may not need to call 911 or the police in some states. In Illinois, for example, you don’t have to call unless there’s a death, injury, or damage that could total over $1500.

Specific laws will depend on your state, so do some research to find out what your obligations are. If you’re not required to call for assistance, you need to exchange information with the other driver, so the two of you can work out the issue with your insurance companies.

3. Move The Vehicles To Safety

If the vehicles involved in the accident can be safely moved out of the way of traffic, it is generally acceptable and encouraged to do so. Just don’t go too far, leaving the scene of an accident is illegal and in some states, like Illinois, you can be charged with a felony. 

Pulling to the side of the road, or some other safe place that’s within sight of the accident scene should be good enough to prevent blocking traffic.

4. File A Report With The Police

If there’s enough damage to warrant it, you’ll need to file a report with the police. This will often happen at the accident scene. If it doesn’t, and there’s enough damage to warrant a report, you’ll have a certain amount of time to give a statement after the accident. 

It’s important to check the laws in your state because failing to report an accident promptly can result in your driver’s license being revoked. That would take some time to fix, and having a revoked license on your record can make it more difficult to get insurance.

5. Contact Your Car Insurance Provider

Even if the accident was minor and you’re not at fault, you still need to contact your insurance provider after an accident. There are several reasons for this.

  • You agreed to tell them about accidents when you signed up. Every insurance policy has this as a requirement, so if you don’t report it, you’re breaking your agreement.
  • Damage isn’t always obvious at the scene so you may need to make a claim later.
  • The company can help you obtain car repairs, even if the dispute about who’s at fault is ongoing.

You should report an accident to your insurance company as soon as possible to help guarantee coverage.

6. Have Your Car Inspected By A Mechanic

If your car is driveable, you need to have it checked out by a mechanic. Even if everything looks fine, there could be damage you can’t see. Having the car inspected could prevent problems, or even another accident, down the line.

7. Contact A Lawyer

If you’ve been in an accident and are going to court, you need attorneys representing you against the insurance company of the other driver. This is true even if the accident wasn’t your fault. 

Without a lawyer, you could end up taking the blame for something you didn’t cause, and lose out on potential compensation for any injuries or damage you suffered. Your chances of a positive result increase dramatically when you have representation, so don’t hesitate to find help.

Drive safely, and don’t forget to take these seven steps if you find yourself involved in a car accident.

Additional resources: 

JJS Justice – providing support and guidance for drivers who have suffered injury after an accident

-The 5 leading causes of car accidents

Are women at greater risk of serious injury in car crashes?

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