It happens so fast: you get in a wreck, your car is damaged and one or more people may be hurt, perhaps severely. Taking quick action is important, but it can be difficult to do, especially if you are shaken yourself. The following survival guide can make all the difference for you in a car accident.
- Maintain your composure. The shock of an accident can put you into shock. Literally. For everyone else, maintaining composure is critically important, especially where lives are at stake. Ensure that you and your passengers are safe, then check the occupants in the other vehicles to confirm likewise. Call for help immediately — the 911 attendant will ask several questions, including your name, location and the condition of the injured. If necessary, have one person apply first aid while another one calls for help.
- Ensure safety always. Get in a car accident and a subsequent accident may follow, especially if your vehicle is exposed to oncoming traffic. If possible, move the vehicles off the road and have someone warn the other drivers. Having an emergency kit in your vehicle is critical — reflective triangles or flares should be used to warn drivers. If the passengers can be removed from the vehicle, then do so. Have everyone stand, sit or lie down as far away from the side of the road as possible.
- Share vital information with the other drivers. Once the scene has been stabilized, then exchange information with the other drivers. You’ll need to obtain names, addresses, contact information, license plate and insurance details for each vehicle involved in the accident. A description of each car is essential too — make, model and model year. With your smartphone, take pictures of the cars and the accident scene. Never admit fault about the accident — keep the conversation focused on ensuring that everyone is getting the help they need and that you collect all information about each vehicle. What you say after the accident can come back to haunt you if you’re not careful with your words.
- Prioritize your responsibilities. The most important matter following a car accident is to ensure the safety of you and your passengers. Once the scene has been visited by first responders, you can leave the concern of everyone else in the hands of medical personnel. Time is critically important, especially when injuries are severe.
- Obtain the accident report. When the police arrive, you and the other drivers involved will provide information that will be collected for a police report. That report typically is available a day or two after the accident. Visit the police department, obtain a copy of the traffic accident report and submit same to your insurance company. Your insurer will then guide you as you seek compensation for medical injuries and car repairs.
- Settle with your insurance companies. What is covered in your car insurance policy and what is not? You may end up dealing with several companies, including your medical insurance provider. It is important to know who covers what and how insurance claims are settled. Following the settlement, make whatever changes may be necessary in your policies, especially if there is a gap in coverage.
- Get your car fixed. Getting people “fixed” is a priority following an accident. Once everyone’s condition is settled, the work with the insurance company to handle repairs. You can use the insurer’s collision shop or choose one of your own explains Caliber Collision. If you choose a company of your own, get estimates and compare what is being offered.
Car Accident Survival
Time is of the essence when it comes to car accidents. Getting those repairs accomplished will restore your car and get you back on the road again as soon as possible. Work closely with the repair shop to ensure that your car is restored to its former state.