Having a car accident is a lot of people’s worst nightmare. It can be vital to know, at the moment, what to do in that situation. There are many dos and don’ts that you should follow if you find yourself in, or witness to, a car accident.
Regardless of whether or not it was your fault, the guidelines as to what to do in the following minutes, as well as over the course of the next few days, tends to be the same.
It is normal to be left feeling confused after the event. You might be wondering how to proceed, and in what timescale. You may wonder if it was your fault, ‘When will I be sued?’, or, for a victim in a car accident case, ‘How soon after an accident are you allowed to sue?’ – click the link for more information. In the meantime, these are some guidelines on what to do after an accident.
The first thing you need to do is check for injuries. Start with yourself, as you can’t help anyone else if you are in dire need of medical attention. Check over the passengers in your car, and any other vehicle or pedestrian involved in the accident. Where possible, do not move people, as you do not currently know the extent of any injuries and this could make things worse.
The only time you should move people is if they are potentially in more danger remaining where they are. Likewise, you should also avoid removing a motorcyclist’s helmet unless essential, for the exact same reason. During this time, you should also be calling for emergency help from both the paramedics and police. Even if there appears to be no life-threatening injuries, there is no way of knowing for certain until people have been checked out by a medical team.
Once the imminent safety of those involved has been dealt with, you should also consider the safety of other drivers. It can be useful to have signage letting people know about the hazard. If possible, you could put up a warning sign, which is handy to keep one in the trunk of your car in case of an emergency. Otherwise, this will be dealt with by the police on their arrival.
Taking details of others involved, or witness to, the incident is the next step to take. In case of legal proceedings, or for dealing with insurance companies, you will need to be able to give a statement and also allow the opposition to give theirs. Any witnesses can also corroborate the events to try to ensure a fair and accurate picture of events before the outcome is decided.
While no one wants to think about the severity of a car accident, being adequately prepared beforehand can make a drastic difference if the unthinkable were to happen. The actions within the first few minutes following a crash can sometimes be the deciding factors on whether a person lives or dies, and your knowledge could play a key part in that.