Did you know that there are more than hundreds of thousands of vehicular accidents every year in Canada? From speeding to intoxication to reckless driving, many cases are hard to control. Anyone can end up involved in a car accident in the blink of an eye. It’s more likely that property damage will happen without occupants’ injuries, but non-fatal injuries still happen a lot of the time too.
Because we always need to be prepared for the worst, we should know what to do if we find ourselves in a car accident. Here are the steps to follow so that we protect ourselves in case we’re involved in a car accident.
At the time of the accident
1. Stop Your Car
If it seems like your car is in a dangerous state, you should turn the engine off and make sure it’s not running as it may cause extra hazards.
2. Check for Injuries
The second thing you should do after an accident is to check yourself for injuries, and if you can move, check others like the passengers in your car and other involved cars. It’s important to assess the extent of the damage, whether the accident is your fault or the other vehicle’s fault. If you find others in need of help, try to offer your assistance to the extent that you can.
3. Move to Safety
If your car is operational and safe to drive, move it to the side of the road to avoid collision with approaching cars. If the car is in a bad shape, leave it and stay in the safety of the side road. If the road is dark, turn on the car’s flashers or a turn on a flashlight to ensure the safety of yourself and others.
4. Call The Police
Regardless of how minor or major the accident is, you should call the police. Police will be unbiased and it’s their job to make a report of what happened. If you’re facing issues of credibility after a car accident, Jeff Preszler from Preszler Law says that you can hire accident reconstruction experts to help you strengthen your case. It will be to your benefit when claiming insurance.
When the police arrive, it’s important to take the officer’s name and badge number and ask for a copy of the accident report. Make sure to give the officers an accurate account of what happened. Tell them everything you’ve seen and If you’re unsure about your injury, say that you’re unsure instead of saying no because some injuries appear later on.
4. Exchange Information
It’s unlikely to happen, but if the police don’t respond, you should collect information about anyone involved in the accident, including passengers and witnesses too. Take the name, number, and address of everyone in the scene so that you can contact them again if needed. You should also note any information regarding the insurance cards of all cars involved.
5. Get Medical Help
You should get yourself checked for injuries at an emergency room, or by a family doctor, even if you feel like you have no injuries, just in case. The effect of some injuries, like pain or bruises, doesn’t appear until two or three days after the accident. Even minor accidents can cause permanent damage to the spinal cord.
In case you lose consciousness or feel dazed, you have to be examined by a doctor as it may be a sign of closed head injury or a concussion, which can cause cognitive and behavioral changes if you don’t treat it.
6. Document the accident
You should have clear, documented evidence for everything that happened. You already have the involved parties’ names, addresses, and numbers, You talk to the witnesses about what they’ve seen. You have a copy of an accident report at hand if the police can give it to you. Finally, take pictures of any damaged property, yours and the other ones involved in the collision included, to present to insurance to support your claim.
After the Accident
The next step, for both injuries and property damage, is to contact your insurance. In some cases, you will need to contact an attorney first. In most cases, a good lawyer will give you a free consultation.
When to Contact an Attorney
You must contact a lawyer if the accident caused serious injuries or death. You may find yourself a victim who should sue the at-fault party for medical treatment expenses. You may also find yourself sued for injury or death claims, in which case, you need to hire a lawyer.
Sometimes an accident may cause any kind of disability that might result in the inability to return to work, which, of course, affects the income. A lawyer will calculate the adequate amount of compensation money you need to cover treatment expenses in addition to the money you lost because you missed work.
You must reach out to an attorney as well if multiple parties were involved as it could make the insurance claim process more complicated. In addition to when one of the motorists involved is uninsured.
If the at-fault party calls for settlement talks, you should hire a lawyer to make sure they negotiate the best offer that covers your damage expenses.
When Not to Hire an Attorney
If you made sure there are no injuries, you can contact your insurance company right away. If the insurance company offers a fair amount of compensation, then you do not need a lawyer. However legal consultation is often free and may alert you to its need.
Unfortunately, vehicular accidents are common and you can’t prevent them. However, all you can do is follow the right steps to ensure you get what’s rightfully yours. In the accident scene, you have to make sure everyone is okay, offer help if needed, and then call the police. The police will file a report which you shall have a copy of.
It will help you a lot if you save the information about the people involved in the accident. In case the accident results in a serious injury or disability, you ought to get compensated for medical expenses. You have the choice to hire a lawyer or make an insurance claim to get said compensation.