In a car accident? Here’s what to do

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In a car accident? Here’s what to do.

Nobody wants to get into a car accident. People don’t wake up in the morning thinking they’re going to get into a car accident. But, unfortunately, car accidents happen every single day. Sometimes they can be serious and cause injuries and sometimes they are simply a fender bender.

The thing is, most people will get into at least one car accident at least once in their life, but not many people know exactly what they should do when it happens. For the sake of this article, we’re going to be referring to car accidents without serious or fatal injuries, as the way you react in those circumstances would likely be drastically different. So, if a car hits you or you hit another car, here is what you should and should not be doing.


Stop, take a deep breath and assess the situation

Stop your car, switch off the engine and take a deep breath. Look around you and assess the damage. Is this simply a fender bender or is the damage to either or any of the vehicles more serious than that? Try to think about what you witnessed before the accident. Was the other person involved driving recklessly or talking on their cellphone while driving? This could help you if you’re considering a Road Accident Fund settlement and if the accident caused serious damage and injury. Or, at least, it could give you some insight into how the accident happened, which will help when you’re talking to your insurance company. Also, make a mental note of what you were doing when the accident happened, for example, how fast you were going and whether you were aware of your blind spots.


Check whether anyone has been injured

Even in the most minor of accidents, injuries can occur. It’s important that you make sure that you are not hurt, do not have whiplash or any cuts and bruises. Sometimes, when people are in shock, they may not notice that they are in pain until later. You should inspect yourself straight away to ensure that you do not need medical assistance.

And, of course, you need to then check that the other person or people involved in the accident are uninjured and okay. This is important, even if you didn’t cause the accident, because if someone needs medical attention, you need to contact help straight away.   


Don’t move your vehicle unless you have to

If you’re on a street where you can direct traffic around the vehicles, do not move the cars. If you have cones or something to indicate that traffic should go around the scene of the accident, set that up.

However, if it is dangerous for you to leave your cars where they are, for example, if you’re on the highway or a busy main road, you should move the cars. It all depends on whether or not it is safe for you to leave the scene of the accident as it is or not. And, of course, if the damage to any of the vehicles is too serious to move the car, you have no choice but to wait for a tow truck.


Call the police if necessary

Many people are hesitant to call the police in the case of a simple fender bender and it is up to you to decide if you want to contact the authorities for a scratch or a dent. But if you plan to claim from insurance or need them to claim from their insurance, it’s advisable to have the police there as witnesses. And if it’s anything more serious than a tiny dent or scratch that you can easily drive away from, definitely phone the police.  Whether you call the police or not, you must report the accident at the nearest local police station.


Be pleasant but do not admit fault

One of the worst things you can do after a car accident is start a fight with the other driver or drivers. You need to remain calm and talk pleasantly to them. Check if they are okay, assess the damage to all vehicles together and keep the conversation about what to do going forward. You must not admit fault at any point, even if the accident was clearly caused by you. You don’t know who you’re dealing with and you don’t know what they’ll claim was a result of the accident.


Take pictures

Whether or not you have to move the move the vehicles involved in the accident, it is important that you take pictures. With everyone owning a smartphone these days, it shouldn’t be a problem at all. However, if your cellphone has run out of battery or you do not own one, ask the other person involved to send the pictures to you or to ask someone who has a smartphone. Just make sure to watch as they type in your number and send the photographs. You don’t want them to be the only person with evidence if this becomes a legal issue.   


Exchange information

Whether or not you plan to go through your insurance, make sure to exchange information with the other driver or drivers. This should include your insurance information (even if you don’t plan to use it), your full name and your contact details.

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