What You Should Do After a Car AccidentJuly 2, 2021
Every year, roughly 6 million car accidents occur in the United States alone. While not every car accident is fatal, they can still cause injuries, property damage, and lead to skyrocketing insurance rates. Even the safest and most responsible drivers may not always be able to account for the reckless behavior of other drivers. This is why, even if you take all the proper precautions, you should still know what to do after a car accident.
But this isn’t always as simple as it sounds. While seeking medical attention should always be your priority following a car crash, many drivers may not know what to do next. Should you always call the police? How do you determine who was at fault? What type of information should you provide the other driver? In this blog, we answer all these questions while taking a closer look at some of the important steps you should take following a car accident. One of these critical steps, after you’ve made sure you’re safe, is reaching out to an experienced car accident attorney.
The Paul Wilkinson Law Firm has worked for over a decade to defend the rights of personal injury victims. Whether you were involved in a car accident, truck accident, motorcycle accident, or any other personal injury accident, we’re here to help. Our entire team of experienced personal injury lawyers is equipped with the skills, dedication, and experience to build your case and ensure you receive fair and full compensation.
COMMON CAUSES OF CAR ACCIDENTS
Even though there are millions of car accidents annually, each one is still unique. Every time you’re behind the wheel, there are multiple factors you must account for to ensure a safe trip. While accounting for the driving behaviors of others and your own driving, you also have to factor in changing road conditions, vehicle maintenance, and at times, adverse weather.
However, there are still some common causes of car accidents that lead to the majority of these crashes. By understanding these common factors, you’ll gain more awareness and improve your safety behind the wheel.
Here’s a look at some of the leading causes of car accidents:
- Distracted driving.
- Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
- Reckless driving.
- Failure to stop or yield at an intersection.
- Adverse weather (rain, snow, sleet).
- Inexperienced drivers.
- Poorly maintained vehicles.
- Improper lane changes.
WHAT YOU SHOULD DO AFTER A CAR ACCIDENT
Even the safest drivers may be involved in a car accident at some point. No matter where you drive, whether it’s just running to the store or a cross-country road trip, there’s potential for a car accident. If you were involved in one today, would you know what to do after the accident? Read on below to learn about the important steps to take in the event of an auto accident.
1. Check for injuries.
Safety should always be your top priority. Immediately following the car accident—no matter the size or severity—you should check yourself and your passengers for any injuries. If you’re able to safely, you should also check on the safety of the other driver. Even if you feel fine, the adrenaline from the crash may be masking your injuries, which is why it’s always smart to seek medical attention.
2. Get to a safe area.
If your car is still operational, try to safely move it from the road so that the accident doesn’t get even worse. Pull over to the shoulder of the road or a parking lot if one is nearby.
3. Call 911.
Once you’ve safely moved to the side of the road, call 911. This quick call will ensure that paramedics (if needed) and police are on the way.
4. Exchange insurance information.
While waiting for the police, exchange insurance and basic contact information with the other driver. Never feel pressured to divulge more information at the time, and even if you believe you were at fault, you never have to make this claim to the other driver.
5. Gather evidence.
This is a step that most people miss. Take several photos (using your smartphone is ideal) of your vehicle, any other vehicles that were involved, and of the scene itself. These photos may end up being valuable evidence if you end up filing a personal injury suit.
6. Receive a police report.
After talking with the police and explaining the incident, you should receive an official police report. Similar to the photos, the police report could serve as evidence during a case and provide an important objective account of the accident.
7. Call a car accident attorney.
Last but not least, call an experienced car accident law firm. These professionals will help you understand your case and determine the best course of action. Since most auto accident lawyers offer free consultations, the only thing this will cost you is a few minutes of your time.
HOW TO PREVENT CAR ACCIDENTS
It’s important to know what to do after a car accident, but hopefully, you’ll never even be involved in one to begin with. You can’t control the actions of other drivers, but there are steps you can take to prevent car accidents and remain safer behind the wheel.
Keep your distance: a fender bender on a highway during busy traffic is one of the most common types of car accidents. Always maintain an appropriate amount of distance between you and the car ahead of you, even if you think they’re going too slow.
Stay focused on the road: distracted driving is one of the leading causes of car accidents in the United States. While texting while driving accidents are quickly becoming one of the most common types of distracted driving, there are many things, including passengers, food, or the radio, that pull your attention from the road.
Manage your speed: speeding is another common cause of car accidents. Always manage your speed and stay within the defined speed limits. Even if you’re running late, it’s never worth the risk of a crash just to save a few minutes of time on the road.
Never drive under the influence: even one alcoholic beverage can impair your ability to safely and effectively operate your vehicle. Although you may feel fine, your reflexes will be slower and your critical thinking will be less effective. Always plan for a safe ride home if you know you’ll be out drinking.
Avoid adverse weather: while this may not always be avoidable, try to avoid driving in poor weather conditions. Proper planning, especially for a longer road trip, is important to avoid rain, snow, or sleet. If you do have to drive in these conditions, go slower than you normally would and remain extra vigilant.
Regular maintenance: make sure to perform regular maintenance on your vehicle. While this may seem like something you can put off, poorly maintained vehicles are a leading cause of car accidents.
CONCLUSION – WHAT TO DO AFTER A CAR ACCIDENT
Being involved in a car accident is a frightening experience. No matter the type of crash, it’s natural to be scared, confused, and unsure of what to do next. It’s important to first check on the safety of yourself, your passengers, and the other driver. Once your car is safely to the side of the road, call 911 so that the police and paramedics will be on the way. Receiving an official police report gives you a credible and objective account of the accident.
After you’ve spoken with the police and exchanged insurance information, gather photographic evidence from the scene of the accident. These images may prove critical if you end up filing a personal injury suit. And finally, you should contact an experienced car accident attorney. Personal injury attorneys can help you assess your case, determine its value, and ensure that you receive full and fair compensation.
Call Paul to receive immediate and comprehensive support on your car accident case. Our dedicated lawyers will meet with you on your schedule and start working on your case immediately. Here at the Paul Wilkinson Law Firm, we operate strictly on contingency fees, which means that we only get paid if you do.
Contact the Paul Wilkinson Law Firm today to schedule your free consultation. We look forward to helping you receive the justice you deserve.