What should I do in the event of a car accident? This is a popular question among budding motorists. If you should ever be involved in an accident know that there may be injuries, damage to your vehicle, and emotions will always be high. It will not be enjoyable just plain scary. It can get worse, however.
According to Zaner Harden Law it does not matter if the accident is minor or major, even a simple fender bender carries legal ramifications. In order to prevent such ramifications from further exacerbating the situation you need to be at your best, So here is a list of important steps to take following the aftermath of a collision.
If you Can, Pull Over to the Side
This is mostly for minor collisions. Odds are you have seen the signs by the road that read, “Minor accidents pull over to the side”. Well this is actually a mandate not a suggestion. A lot of accidents are mere fender benders that cause small cosmetic damage. Drivers are not hurt and vehicles are still perfectly functional. In such circumstances there is no excuse to park in the middle of the road and wait for assistance.
The last thing law enforcement wants to see is an interstate backed up because of a minor accident. It is dangerous for you and your fellow motorists. So if your vehicle can still move pull it off the road immediately. Everything can be addressed once you and the other parties are on the shoulder.
Do Not Leave
Many motorists may be tempted to drive off in the aftermath of a crash. This is a bad idea. Even if it is a minor collision there still could be injuries sustained. If you drive off and there are injured persons you will immediately be classified as a hit and run driver. This action can carry serious fines and criminal charges. So stick around. If it is a fender bender you and the other driver may decide everything is fine and part ways.
Check on Drivers and Passengers
This is more for major accidents that cause grievous damage. In minor collisions motorists usually exit their cars to inspect damage. Major collisions might create a situation where the motorist cannot exit their car. So if you are okay, before you look at your vehicle check on the other people involved. This allows you to help rescue services when they arrive as you can point them towards the worst cases.
If you should find a person injured do not move them. This is lesson one in first aid and also a smart legal choice. The best thing to do is wait for professionals and assist anyone who is suffering minor cuts and scrapes.
Call the Police
In a major accident calling the police is the next thing to do after checking on passengers and drivers. Law enforcement handles accidents and first responders tend to wounded. They cordon of sections of the highway, help people get out of their vehicles, and move damaged autos off the road. Eventually a tow truck shows up to cart off totaled vehicles. The process only starts, however, when someone gives them a call.
No a minor accident may not require this step. Many fender benders provide a jolt and nothing more. There is not even damage done to the cars involved. In those situations drivers may deal with the event themselves and skip to the next step. Sometimes, as aforementioned, they may just drive off without a problem.
This can be done with or without the police. It depends on the severity of the accident. Mainly, exchanging information is the act of giving the other driver your name, license number, and insurance. You then receive the same from them. Major accidents see police officers mitigate this task. This is because emotions may be high. The police will take all of your information, assess who is at fault, and then communicate the findings to your insurance. The main thing is that the accident be reported to your insurance so any damage can be covered.
Talk To Witnesses
This is for major accidents. Talking to witnesses is a necessary step in deciding fault. Cops will do it in their investigation and so should you. This allows the process of reporting to your insurance easier especially if you are the victim. In minor accidents taking witness statements can be useful depending on the outcome. Sometimes the other driver may try to claim inaccurate damage or injury in which case a witness statement can absolve you.