Car accidents don't happen as often as they used to. Also, modern engineering in vehicles and advances in safety technology means they're not nearly as dangerous, either. Still, you're not in the clear even when an accident is a moment behind you. Knowing tips to keep yourself safe after a car accident are just as important as defensive driving before them.
Stop the Vehicle
Stop your vehicle entirely as quickly as you can. Cut the engine. If it's a minor accident, also known as a fender bender, local laws might require you to pull off to the side of the road so you do not impede traffic. Just make sure you end up in a safe location. If you cannot move the vehicle, try to safely move to the side of the road.
Assess the Situation
Check yourself for injuries first. Make sure you can move and that all things are in order. Then, look over your passengers. Make sure they aren’t pinned or otherwise stuck. Finally, check on occupants of any other vehicles involved and pedestrians. Make sure no one is in the way of traffic when they exit their vehicles. You want to get a good idea of what the situation is before you know what to do next.
Help Where Needed
You may not have all the knowledge necessary to perform CPR, but you should still help. Do what you can to assist those in your car and those in the other car. If something seems serious, call EMS immediately. But in the meantime, you can help others get to the side of the road. If you are unable to help in that way, make any calls that are needed. If the accident is serious enough, follow basic first aid procedures. Try to stop bleeding if you need to.
Fleeing the scene of an accident is illegal nearly everywhere. You can wind up in criminal trouble for doing this. Legal trouble is the last thing you want right now. Stay on the scene and cooperate with authorities. Not only will you have legal issues, but you may end up with charges of manslaughter if the injury is serious enough. Stay where you are and help where you can.
Keep Your Cool
It is important to make sure you keep your cool after the accident. This is probably the hardest part of an accident. No matter whose fault it is, you need to stay calm. Do not attack or injure the other driver. Ultimately that will only hurt you financially in the future. Accidents are just that, accidents. Know that what happened is usually not on purpose. Getting angry will only make the situation worse.
Never Admit Fault
Whether you're eventually represented by Cormany Law or another legal office, if you need legal representation to defend yourself from another driver's lawsuit, admitting any fault can leave you open to all kinds of legal problems. Exchange information with the other driver but never admit that it was your fault. Let the law decide who is responsible.
Call EMS if Anyone Seems Out of Sorts
No matter how mild or serious someone might be injured, contact EMS and get first responders out there to look them over. Some injuries might not be immediately evident, so medical professionals need to be the ones making judgment calls about who is okay. If all seems well it is still a good idea to contact your doctor for an appointment. Pains may not show up until the next day.
Call Law Enforcement
Most insurance companies won't honor any claims related to accidents without a police report generated for the incident. For that matter, you might need local police to handle traffic, arrange for towing, or just keep the peace if anyone is overly angered by the situation. Let them handle the hard parts of the situation. After all, it is their job.
Don't Sign Anything
Anything you sign at the scene of the accident might wind up causing you serious trouble later. Don't do anything relating to legal matters without consulting an attorney first. Read any and all documents given to you and if they seem confusing, consult an attorney. If the officer on the scene gives you something to sign, you may have no choice.
Any car accident can be dangerous when it happens. However, even if you're able to walk away from the immediate incident, you need to make sure you and your passengers are protected in the aftermath as well. So follow these tips and you will be able to keep yourself safe, both physically and financially.