The safety standards of cars on the road are better than they have ever been, but despite that, more than 37,000 Americans die each year in over 6 million car accidents that happen in the U.S. annually. Of all the states in the country, Texas has one of the highest rates of car accidents and sees more than 0.5 million car accidents each year. In fact, based on reportable crashes in 2018, one reportable crash occurred every 58 seconds.
Thus if you find yourself being involved in a car accident, the moments after a car accident can be extremely confusing, and it can become difficult to focus amid the confusion and chaos that follows.
No matter how cautious you are, you can still be involved in a car accident when there’s no fault of your own. Therefore it is essential to be mentally prepared and informed if you get into an accident, so you know what necessary measures to take. So, here’s a list of crucial steps that you should take after a car accident:
Step 1: Remain calm, pull yourself together, and do not flee the scene
Accidents can happen at the most unexpected time and place, and as a result, you might go into shock immediately after an accident. The most important thing to do here is to remain calm as trauma can lead to panic, and panic can cause you to flee the scene of the accident.
Under no circumstances should you flee the scene of the accident, even if it is your fault because it is an offense under Texas Law, and you can be charged with a crime. You need to pull over to the side of the road, check if everyone in the car is okay including yourself, and call 911 immediately in case there are injuries.
Step 2: Check for injuries
Your wellbeing and safety are the things that matter the most after a car accident, more than any property damage that might have been caused, thus it is paramount that you check yourself for injuries before doing anything else. After checking yourself, see if other people in your car are injured, if there are any.
In case you are severely injured, do not try to get up or move and call 911 or call any passersby for help. If you are not severely injured and can move around, you should also check on any other people involved in the accident, including any passerby’s or people in another car that was involved in the accident, and call the authorities for help if they are injured.
Step 3: Report the accident
Texas Law makes it mandatory for an accident to be reported if there are any injuries, fatalities, or property damage, and failure to do so under such circumstances can lead to legal action against you. Even if you think the accident is minor and there is no apparent property damage or injuries, you should still report it to the police.
Reporting is vital because some injuries and property damage can be latent and can appear days or even weeks after the accident, thus it is better to be on the safe side and report it to the police. Texas Law requires you to file a police report within ten days of the accident if there are any injuries or the property damage exceeds $10,000.
When the police arrive at the scene of the accident, they will file a car crash report, and you should provide them with accurate information regarding the accident. This car accident report can be accessed at a later time by requesting the police, or you can access it online.
Accidents in Lubbock, for instance, have risen compared to the past few years. If you live in Lubbock, the Lubbock accident report can be accessed online by adding the ZIP code or city along with the date of the accident and the vehicle details. The easy access to accident reports online can be useful if, in the future, there is a lawsuit filed against you by the other people involved in the accident, and you will not have to wait for the police to reply to you.
Step 4: Gather evidence and information at the scene of the accident
Once you have reported the accident to the police and you are waiting for them to arrive, if you are physically able, you should gather information about the other driver or any other people involved in the accident.
The information should include the name, insurance policy number, contact information, license number of the driver, registration number of the vehicle/vehicles involved in the accident, and the make and model of the other vehicle/vehicles.
Apart from information about the driver and the car involved, you should also gather other details regarding the accident scene, including the road and weather conditions. If there are any witnesses at the scene of the accident, try to note their accounts, or better yet record them, and collect their contact information.
Additionally, if you have access to a camera or a camera phone, try to take as many pictures as possible of the vehicles involved in the accident and any other things you might find useful, including the skid marks on the road.
You should also take pictures of any injuries that might have incurred in the accident. Collecting all this information and taking all these pictures might seem irrelevant to you at the scene of the accident. Still, they might prove to be very useful later on in any legal proceedings that might ensue.
Step 5: Inform your insurance company
It is impertinent to notify your insurance company of the accident promptly, as per your policy. The documentation you should have gathered in the previous step will help in this step and will be a positive tool for your insurance claim. Regardless of whose fault it was in the accident, you still need to notify your insurance company of the car accident as soon as possible.
Car accidents can happen to anyone anytime, and this makes it essential for the drivers to be mentally prepared for an accident whenever they go on the road. If you are not mentally prepared for an accident, you might not know what to do at the scene of the accident, and you might unintentionally take steps that could be harmful to you in the future. Therefore, this article lists the crucial steps that you need to take immediately after a car accident.