In the United States, there is an average of six million accidents a year. In the grand scheme of everyday life, that means sixteen thousand accidents occur.
After a serious accident, the situation tends to be exceptionally stressful and dangerous. People are confused, disoriented, potentially injured, even going into shock after what happened. Vehicles tend to be in a bad way and potentially leaking fluids, and traffic continues to pass close by where the accident occurred.
Now, with everything, there is always a right and wrong way to do things. Here, we describe the right steps to take immediately after an accident to ensure your safety overall.
Accident Scene Judgments
The safety of you and your passengers if you have any are the first priority on your list.
Immediately after the accident, check yourself and your passengers for potential injuries. Then call 911 and wait for the police and EMS to arrive. Be sure to be in a safe location. This is especially important on incredibly busy roads, highways, and intersections.
Whatever you do, do not leave the scene of an accident. Even if the accident wasn’t your fault, stay. You still have the chance of being charged with a crime if you choose to leave the situation.
While you are still at the scene and everything is trying to be orderly and taken care of, take down any important information you can, talk to the police and witnesses, and make sure that you take all the necessary actions to develop your claim.
Immediate Steps to Take Following Car Accident
Move Your Damaged Vehicle OFF The Road
If your car is still operable, try to do whatever you can to get it off the road. This may be only a shoulder or a full parking lot, but the closer you get it to the side or off the road entirely, the safer you end up being. You want to make sure that you try to get off the road as soon as possible. And if your car is not drivable, do not try to push it. Just leave it as is, primarily because you could have internal injuries that are masked by shock and adrenaline.
It is not your job whatsoever to do any of the clean up after an accident. Removing glass and car parts or directing traffic should be left to the professionals. Your number one priority is you.
Hazard Flashers are a MUST
Hazard lights are designed to warn other drivers to slow down because something went wrong.
If you carry any sort of additional warning signals, now is the time to start using them. Place them only if you are able to do it safely. Do not put yourself in danger just trying to set up flares or reflective triangles.
Move Away from the Incident
Once you are able to move your car safely away from the scene, if you can, then it’s time for you to take a few steps back. Move away from your car if possible, because you do not want to personally become the victim of a second collision. Reason being is that drivers won’t always be cautious when approaching the scene of an accident. You want to be as safe as possible.
If there is a safe place for you to be able to wait for the police and EMS, exit your car and go there. However, only do that if the situation is clear of any danger. Sometimes when it comes to being on a shoulder or in an intersection, the safest place for you to be may be in your car.
If you can’t move or it’s unsafe to exit your car, stay put. That is the safest place where you can possibly be at that time.
Call 911 and EMS and then Cooperate
As soon as you possibly can after ensuring you are safe and your passengers are okay if you have them, call 911. The police know how to secure an accident scene. They will take care of all the proper steps to ensure that the scene is as safe as possible before starting to gather evidence and taking statements.
Stay Calm and Do Not Admit Any Fault
You always want to avoid the temptation to speak to the other driving while waiting for the police and EMS. Stay as quiet as possible. The immediate aftermath of a car accident are insanely stressful, and you don’t want to let that type of situation cause you to start blurting out things you will regret.
At most, you can potentially exchange insurance information with the other driver, however, if you are injured or just not up to approaching the other driver, it’s not a necessity. When the police arrive, they will go through with the evidence gathering and all of that information will be in the police report.
If the other driver approaches you, just listen. Let the other driver talk all they want, you just listen and if you can, record what is being said. It can only strengthen your claim.
Contact a Car Accident Attorney To Help You Today
If you follow through with all of these steps, and you aren’t sure what to do next, you are not alone. Get in touch with a personal injury attorney like myself. We specialize in handling cases involving motor vehicle accidents.
For over 30 years, I have ensured that the people of Philadelphia are protected against all sorts of personal injury claims. If you believe you have a case or were involved in a motor vehicle accident, give me a call today at 215-332-0300 or schedule your free consultation below!