Quick summary of 8 Steps to take when in an auto collision
- Secure everyone’s safety
- Take precautionary measures to protect your right
- Notify your insurance company
- Call an attorney
- Seek medical attention
- Avoid a quick settlement
- Take your car to an auto body shop
An auto collision, or a car accident, ranges from a mere scratch to a very fatal disaster. It is not something anyone should wish on another.
When there is a car accident, there is usually enough shock to go round, tension rising, hardly anyone thinking clearly.
Auto accidents are becoming common these days. In 2019 alone, there was a 10% increase in traffic accident deaths, according to the National Road Safety Authority. In the US alone, over 6 million accidents occur a year.
You may be wondering, what do I do if I am in a car accident? This article features seven steps you should take.
This is a very delicate issue because, in the emotions and trauma of an accident, rash and hasty decisions can be made that can prove costly.
To avoid these mistakes, let’s consider 8 steps to take when in an auto collision:
The most important thing to do when you are involved in an accident is to stop. No matter how minor the accident is, it is important to never leave the scene of an accident.
2). Secure Everyone’s Safety
When in an accident, securing the safety of everyone involved in that accident should be your number one priority. You can achieve this by doing the following:
Firstly, if it seems possible for you to exit the vehicle, do so and turn on the emergency flashers.
Securing everyone’s safety also means calling an ambulance or 911 in the case of serious injuries. However, if it’s a minor accident, you can call the police hotline.
Furthermore, while waiting for an ambulance to get to you (in the case of a serious accident), give first aid where applicable, therefore, it is only advisable that everyone should have some, if not full, knowledge of first-aid.
Comply with the police on the scene, stay with them until you are free to go.
3). Take Precautionary Measures to Protect Your Right
After ensuring everyone’s safety, the next thing to do is take measures to protect your rights. Do your best to recall everything that happened.
Here are some proven steps you can take:
If you still have your phone or anyone’s device at the scene, take pictures of what is left of the accident, debris and the location of the accident should be clear from these pictures.
If the vehicles are in a condition where you can move them, move them to a safer place, only after the pictures.
It’s morally right to admit when you’re wrong. However, in such a case like this one, where it could be taken to court, do no such thing as admitting it was your fault, even if it was.
This might sound unhealthy but it wouldn’t favor you to admit to your wrongdoings in the court of law.
Notwithstanding, you can do right by any victim, without admitting the accident was your fault.
Following these aforementioned steps will equip you, in case the accident ends up in court.
4). Notify Your Insurance Company
This is one of the many situations where having an insurance company is very beneficial. The step to take is to call your insurance company, notifying them of the accident.
It is always advisable that you be the first one to report an accident, it doesn’t always end well when the second party’s insurance company reports a claim before you.
Send a report of the accident to your insurance company, detailing everything from the accident. Usually, most insurance companies would send an agent to confirm your claim.
This is an important step in the sense that, other drivers may choose to take the accident to court, if your insurance company is not aware of the accident, they may not have your back during the case.
5). Call an Attorney
Source: Dave Yost
Calling your insurance company surely isn’t the call you’re going to make. Call your attorney, if you don’t have one, get one.
Yes, even for a minor accident, for you to be fully covered in all angles, you need to be legally protected too.
Remember, we live in a world where everybody thinks about themselves first. Even your insurance company, they would be looking to pay the least possible amount for your damages. Your attorney would be crucial in getting the deal, that suits your rights and interest.
Knowing what questions to ask your attorney is important to get your case to a good cause. Here are some good questions to ask:
- What are your thoughts on my case?
- How likely do you think it is that I will get a settlement or judgment?
- How much money can I truly expect to receive?
- Do you feel we will need to go to trial?
- Do you feel arbitration or mediation would work well?
- How long do you think it would take to complete my case?
- What factors do you think are working for or against us?
You might not want to pursue the case legally, but can you say the same about the other parties. Keep in mind that there is no way you would know what moves the other parties are taking or if they’ll charge you to court.
Having a lawyer in place will provide the lawyer ample time to build a case, if and when necessary.
6). Seek Medical Attention
After all the legal shenanigans of the day, make sure you get yourself checked by a doctor. It is always common for those involved in a minor accident to shrug off going to the doctors.
Although what you may see on your body may be minor bruises according to you, the only way to be certain there is no internal or serious damage is by visiting the doctor.
It would interest you to know that symptoms of most of the injuries sustained in an accident can go unnoticed for days or even weeks. Also, for the legal aspect, it’s good to have a medical record.
An accident comes with an adrenaline rush, in a bid for your body to respond to the shock.
During this adrenaline rush, you may not feel any injury sustained until after the whole thing is over. Your feeling of survival and excitement may take the place of the pain of the injuries.
Additionally, during an accident, the parts of the body that feel the most impact are the soft tissues, in other words, muscles, tendons, and ligaments.
One may not notice a soft tissue injury until after some weeks, because they don’t create blood or broken bones.
Whatever medical appointment you make, make sure you don’t wait more than three days to get your medical check. If you do, it will prompt your insurance company to include a “value driver” to your score with them.
This action, that you may see as irrelevant, can affect the settlement offer you receive, and it is admissible in court, showing the lack of severe injuries sustained. After all, a severe injury would require urgent attention.
Your medical record should be handled by your lawyer, make sure you don’t let the other parties have access to your records.
7). Avoid a Quick Settlement
If you’ve never heard of a settlement before, it is a situation where two parties agree to a deal, without taking it to a judge.
If the other party is at fault, you might receive offers of settlement from their lawyer or insurance company.
You may be asked to sign an agreement to some terms in return for a particular fee. It is always tempting to agree, but don’t accept a quick settlement.
First, make sure your attorney is present for any meeting with the other party. Allow your attorney to brief you on what the settlement entails and why they’re agreeing to settle.
Give yourself some time to heal, and be sure no other symptom arises before considering signing. Most of the time, the first offer isn’t always the best they can come up with.
Bear in mind, once you sign an agreement for the settlement, you can no longer take the case to court if new issues develop. Hence, make sure the offer is sufficient before agreeing to sign.
8). Take Your Car To an Auto Body Shop
The last step you should do when you get in an auto collision is to get your car fixed. When you get your car fixed, you not only protect its value, but you can identify any hidden damage that the insurer should also pay to fix.
In many states, you can take your damaged vehicle to the body shop of your choice. You should get at least a few estimates for the repair of your car, as different shops may see different damage and have wildly varied repair estimates.
Be sure to consider every aspect of the car damaged by the accident. Your car needs to be in good condition to avoid future accidents. Some of the parts to look at include:
- Mechanical work
- Seat belts
- Glass Repair
- Auto Body Paint
If you are seeking compensation for damages, you need to include even the smallest of detail, as long as it was damaged by the accident.
A car accident can leave a scar on you, therefore it is important to take the right measures if you find yourself in it.
It can happen to anyone. But overall drive safe and keep the rules so you don’t find yourself in this position.
East End Body, Inc. 3117 Ferris Ct. (31st Street) Huntington, WV 25702