It’s difficult to say exactly how we’d react immediately following a car accident. The most stoic or daring individuals can be thrown into a state of shock, while others seem to disassociate and move through the event as though it’s any other day. No matter how you feel following a crash, there are five important things to remember at the scene.
If a wave of adrenaline has sent you into a panic, do your best to get this under control right away. You may not notice any injuries while adrenaline is still high, so if you’re out of harm’s way, remain there for a few seconds. Take deep breaths through your nose and exhale completely to prevent hyperventilation.
Move to Safety and Make Contact
Ensure your stopped vehicle isn’t a danger to oncoming traffic, and turn on your hazard signal. At this time, if there are no serious injuries, you can consider exiting the vehicle and making your way off to the side, away from traffic. If you suspect yourself or any other individual is hurt, make that emergency call immediately. Even if no one is injured, you’ll need an officer on the scene.
However, if anyone else involved in the accident is outside and seems agitated or angry, stay put. Do not attempt to engage with another driver who is in the throes of road rage.
Gather and Exchange Information
You’ll need to provide documentation to the police, so get it ready before they arrive, if you can. This includes your driver’s license, proof of insurance, and your registration. If the other driver is calm and not seriously injured, you can exchange information like name, address, phone, and details about their car.
Once that officer does arrive, listen to what they tell you. Make note of the officer’s name, and state that you’ll need a copy of the accident report they file. Have a camera or smartphone on hand to take your own photos of the scene, as well as any damage.
Don’t Draw Your Own Conclusions
Here is a tip we often overlook. Any accident sees many of us saying “I’m sorry,” no matter whose fault it is. Do not do this. An apology can be considered an admission of guilt. Do not make any statements that suggest who is at fault, instead keeping your language neutral and fact-based.
See a Professional
Maybe your car has been towed, or you’re lucky enough to drive away from the scene. Either way, it might be a good idea to head to the ER. As stated, the rush of adrenaline can conceal pain from injuries, or you could have an internal injury you’re unaware of.
From there, consult an attorney such as https://www.derricklawfirm.com/. Not only can a lawyer help you with a contentious case, but their advice can be very valuable when dealing with your insurance company.
All in all, staying calm might be the most difficult part. No matter the value of your vehicle or who caused the accident, the most important factor is the health of you and your loved ones. Make it a top priority by properly assessing the situation, calling for help right away, going to a hospital to get checked out, and seeking professional advice.
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