can happen to anyone, wherever you are and however safe they think they are. In your case as a driver, traffic accidents remain an ever present threat to you, and as such it’s important for you to know how to deal with a traffic accident should it happen.
This isn’t a simple matter to dismiss as traffic crashes do remain to be a threat to all road users today. In fact, data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicate that there’s an estimated annual death count of 1.25 million attributed to traffic accidents, mostly involving cars, trucks, buses, bikes and motorcycles, the latter two a part of “vulnerable road users” along with pedestrians. Outside these numbers, 20 to 50 million more people can end up being seriously injured because of these accidents.
If you’re not sure as to how you can improve your safety habits as a road user, then here’s your quick guide to deal with a traffic accident:
- Make sure you and your companions are safe. Take a deep breath and get a sense of yourself first. Can you use your five senses? How exactly are you feeling? Is anywhere hurting? Take note of the sensation as you carefully move out of the vehicle and get yourself to a safe spot in the scene of accident. Don’t go away just yet as this may imply you’re doing a hit and run and may be penalized.
- Are you injured in any way? If you know there was an impact on your end but couldn’t see any injuries, or if there are visible injuries, make sure to call the authorities and medical assistance right away. If you know other people are injured, then all the more should you call for immediate help. Don’t move anyone else who’s injured as if their condition worsens, they may attribute it to your intervention.
- Documentation counts. While waiting for officers and respondents to arrive at the scene, try to take pictures of what happened. Take note and pictures of damages to vehicles and other properties, how did the environment look like, and your injuries as well. Outside the scene, if there’s any indication that you have to pay for anything, or if there are any diagnoses that relate a condition to the accident, make sure you obtain copies of documents proving it.
- Gather relevant contact information from those involved and the people around you. Get names, addresses, and contact numbers of people that are at the scene. This not only allows you to have people to communicate with should there be a need for witnesses, but this allows you to have a way for your lawyer or insurer to communicate with them, especially if the driver is at fault.
- Get additional information from specific people. For instance, for drivers involved, do take note of their license number, their plate number, and the make of their car. If they’re not the owner of the car, ask who is and their information. For the responding officers, ask them if they can make a report out of this so you can procure a copy back a the station. Get their names, badge numbers, and contact information in order to keep in touch with them.
- Always remain polite when conversing with others, but never apologize for anything that happened in the incident and accident. This might imply that there’s fault on your end even when there wasn’t.
- Call a lawyer. After the accident, it’s important to establish communication with your lawyer to ask about your next move. Is suing the next move? Should you wait for a settlement? Their advice on the matter can be of great assistance to your needs.
Remember, when it comes to traffic accidents, preparation is always the key to avoid them. While granted, when accidents happen, it’s always at moments you don’t expect. Knowing you at least have done everything you could to protect yourself can lessen your chances of being involved in a dangerous accident. If you’re looking for legal help on the matter, you can also click here.