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7 Crucial Steps to Take After You've Been Involved In a Traffic Accident

Traffic Accident

May 2, 2019 - Would you know what to do if you were in a car accident?

There are an average of  6 million car accidents in the United States each year. 

That means the chances of you being in a traffic accident are high.

Being involved in a traffic accident is often a traumatizing, emotional experience. When you are in that state of mind, you can't always trust yourself to know what to do next. 

Keep reading to discover the crucial steps you should take if you've been involved in a traffic accident.

What to Do After a Traffic Accident

There are ways to  avoid a car crash, but if one happens anyway, it's important that you know what to do afterward.

After taking a deep breath, here is a list of 7 steps you can take to make sure you are protected after an accident.

1. Stop

You are required by law to stop after you are involved in a car crash.

The very first thing you should do is stop in a safe place at the scene of the accident. The other driver should do the same.

2. Check Yourself and Passengers for Injuries

Take the time to assess yourself for injuries and ask your passengers if they are okay. 

This is also a good time to check on the occupants of the other vehicle.

When in doubt, always call an ambulance. Emergency personnel can more thoroughly inspect you for injuries and interject if needed. 

3. Ensure Your Safety

If possible, you should move your vehicle out of traffic to a safe place. Once you're in a good spot, put your vehicle into park, turn off the engine, and turn on your hazard lights.

Do not move your vehicle if someone inside is seriously injured. You can cause more injuries by moving them before medical help has arrived.

If you have them, you can use flares, cones, or warning triangles for additional safety. 

Don't be the one to injure yourself because you didn't take the proper precautions after you survived a traffic accident.

4. Call the Police

Now it is time to call the police. You should do this even if you believe the accident is minor.

Filing a police report is an important step to ensure all parties are protected. A police report could come in handy later - for the insurance claim process and to prove any negligence that may have occurred. 

By contacting the police, you have done your part under the law. This will work in your favor if there happens to be a lawsuit filed after the accident.

5. Exchange Information

There are several pieces of information that you will swap with the driver of the other vehicle before either one of you leave the scene. This is especially important if you are traveling and involved in an accident away from home.

You'll want to collect the following information:

  • Names of drivers and passengers
  • Contact information
  • Driver's license numbers
  • Insurance companies and policy numbers
  • License plate numbers
  • Address of the accident location
  • Names of police officers at the scene (badge numbers are helpful)

This is a long list, so it might be best to print it out and keep it in your car or take a screenshot of it now.

It's best to limit conversation with anyone else at the scene until authorities arrive. Emotions will be high after an accident, so the scene is never the place to argue about who is at fault.

If you are in a traffic accident, never admit responsibility to the other party. Be polite and leave that to the police.

6. Document the Scene

You will need to do this for your insurance company if there is damage to your vehicle.

Start by taking photos of all of the vehicles involved at the scene. Do not risk your safety to do this. 

Next, you will want to document all of the details at the scene. Consider things such as:

  • How fast was each car traveling?
  • What were the weather conditions?
  • In which direction was each car traveling?
  • What was done immediately following the accident?
  • Were there any witnesses at the scene?
  • Was either driver distracted?

Collecting these details will get you started, but jot down everything you can remember while it is fresh on your mind.

Stick to the facts to protect yourself in case the other driver claims negligence.

7. Contact Your Insurance Company

When you are involved in a car accident, you should notify your insurance agent as soon as you are able.

We now live in a  digital age. Most insurance companies have a mobile app that allows you to start the process at the scene of the accident. It's good to do it while your memory is fresh.

Don't worry, you can finish filing the claim later once things have calmed down a bit.

Today, many companies offer the ability to begin a claim online or through a mobile app that you can upload photos to immediately.

If You're Injured in an Accident

State laws vary, but in most cases, any compensation for your injuries depends on who is at fault. When the other driver is at fault, their insurance should cover your injuries and damage to your vehicle. Sometimes things don't go the way we want them to or how we think they should.

When you are refused compensation, you must be able to prove that the other driver was negligent for your injuries. Whether they were clearly driving distracted or under the influence of drugs or alcohol, you shouldn't attempt to prove this in court on your own.

If you were involved in a traffic accident and believe you were treated unfairly or you should be compensated for your injuries, contact a  Houston Car Accident lawyer today.

An attorney can help you recoup funds that could go towards unpaid hospital bills,  therapy for any PTSD, or even time off of work.

Be Prepared

The aftermath of a car crash can be an emotional rollercoaster. Following these steps will alleviate any unnecessary worries following a traffic accident.

Be proactive and prepared before an accident occurs. Share or bookmark this list on your mobile device so you have it handy when you need it.

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