Nobody ever plans to be involved in a motor vehicle accident. But, it’s a good idea to talk about what to do, in case you find yourself in that unfortunate situation. There are some immediate steps that you can talk to ensure that you and your passengers are best protected from additional harm.
Check to see that you and your passengers are okay. Sometimes an injured person will be in shock right after an accident. So, it’s a good idea to ask everyone how they are and if there is an injury, call 911 right away.
Activate your hazard lights immediately. If possible, move your vehicle to a safe spot on the shoulder. Often following an accident your vehicle is left in a dangerous position on a road with fast-moving vehicles. It’s best to get to a safe location. Neglecting to do so will put you at risk for a secondary accident.
Call the police for assistance. This should be done in every car accident. Do not be tempted to forgo calling the police even if the other operator protests or offers to pay for the damage to your car. It is important to make a record of the accident with the authorities as soon as possible. Make sure that you get an accident report from the officer before leaving the location of the incident. People tend to alter their stories after the fact. It is best to get it recorded right from the beginning.
If possible gather the names of any potential witnesses. The police are supposed to gather witness names, but often fail to do so. Once the witness leaves the scene they may be lost forever, especially if you don’t get their name, phone number or address.
Take photos. Today everyone has a smart phone and a photograph can be extremely helpful in supporting your version of the facts, should there be a dispute. You should take as many photos as possible of the vehicles, the road and the surrounding area.
A Final Word
After a car accident, many people with minor injuries often decline medical assistance. This is not a good idea. Injuries tend to get worse as time passes and the shock of the accident wears off. Get examined by a doctor, even if you think that you're “just a little sore.” It’s better to be safe than sorry. And should you be severely injured following a car accident that was not your fault, make sure you consult with a personal injury attorney who practices in the area in which you accident took place.