What To Do When You're Involved in a Car Accident
Even the most responsible drivers can be involved in a car crash. Unfavorable weather conditions, new traffic patterns and other motorists on the road can all affect a driver's chances of experiencing an accident. That's why it's important to know how to handle a car accident ahead of time.
- Don't Panic
The first thing to remember after an accident is to remain calm. Your body's natural mechanisms for dealing with a crisis involve an increased production in adrenaline, which can make you feel frazzled or shaken. Your heart rate will increase, your breathing may become more rapid and you may even experience tunnel vision. These are all normal reactions that your body goes through to deal with immediate stress. The well-known term for this is the "fight-or-flight" reaction. Although you have little to no control over this physiological process, there are a few things you can do to keep from panicking. Taking slow, deep breaths or counting to five can help.
- When Injury is Involved
If you or someone else involved in the accident is injured, take immediate action to get help. If any injury is involved, even if you don't suspect the injury to be serious, you should call 9-1-1. Oftentimes, drivers are not aware of the seriousness of their injuries, due to the "fight-or-flight" reaction mentioned earlier. One side-effect of an increase in adrenaline is a dulled sense of pain, so even if you do not feel immediate pain or discomfort, you may still be seriously injured.
If you do not have access to a phone, ask to use someone else's phone. You may have to walk/run to the nearest public place to ask for a phone, or you may be able to wave down help from another motorist or pedestrian. Do NOT walk out into moving traffic to try to flag down a car. Stand away from the flow of traffic while waving for help.
If you are the one who is severely injured, you will need to use your best judgment in the moment. If you are able to reach your phone, dial 9-1-1. If someone is with you, you may need to ask or motion for them to dial for you.
For more information, please visit our Personal Injury Questions and Answers.
- If the Vehicle is Still Driveable and No Injury Involved
If your car is still driveable after the accident, and you are not injured, carefully move it out of the flow of traffic to the shoulder or the nearest parking lot. Auto accidents left in the flow of traffic often cause follow-up collisions. If your car, or other debris from the wreckage, is blocking the road and you are unable or do not feel safe moving it, call the police department to report it.
Some local laws require that all motor vehicle accidents are reported to the police. If you are unsure about the laws in your area, you should contact your local police station, just in case.
- Collect Information
After any emergencies have been addressed and you are in a safe location, you need to gcollect information from anyone involved in the accident. It might be a good idea to take pictures, even if it's with your smart phone, to record information from the scene. These pictures may come in handy later when you file a claim with your insurance company or when you talk to Richard Flexner about the accident. Just make sure your picture taking does not interfere with the authorities or pose a safety hazard.
Talk to the other drivers involved and obtain the following information:
- Insurance Company & Policy Number
- Phone Number
- Divers License Number
- License Plate Number
- Make & Model of Vehicle
- (You will need to share your own information with the other drivers as well).
You should also make note of any passengers that were involved. It is a good idea to get contact info from them as well as from any witnesses or pedestrians who may be able to verify how the accident occurred.
If the police are called, the responding officer will take a report. You can ask for the report number, in case you, your insurance company or Richard Felxner needs to refer back to it later.
Do NOT disclose information about your insurance policy, such as coverage limits or lien holders.
Do NOT admit fault. Even if you feel guilty or ashamed, it is up to the legal system to determine who is at fault for the accident. Admitting fault at the scene of the accident can be used against you later, even if evidence indicates you were not at fault.
- If You've Been Injured and It's Not Your Fault
In many cases, having expert legal advice can be a great benefit for those injured in a car accident. If you have been injured in an accident, and feel you may need legal representation, please <a href="/contact">contact the law offices of Richard Flexner</a> at 1-800-353-9637. Richard Flexner and his team are experts at handling personal injury cases and are well-versed in traffic law.
Richard Flexner has made recoveries for thousands of satisfied car accident and personal injury clients for more than 25 years. While past performance is no guarantee of the future result in your case, Richard and his team of highly-trained lawyers have the experience, integrity and desire to help you get the highest award to which you are entitled. Learn more about his <a href="/about">background and experience</a>.