How to Deal With the Aftermath of a Car Accident
By now your driver’s ed teacher has scared you with all the teen car accident statistics out there. You know that you are likely to experience an accident sometime before adulthood. Although the period following a traffic accident is likely to be characterized by confusion and shock, dealing with the aftermath will require that you keep a level head. This will help you to remember your responsibilities as well as to protect your rights. If you have prior knowledge of what you should do, you will be more prepared to handle the situation.
Check for Any Injuries
Immediately after a car accident, it is important to prioritize your health as well as that of other people at the scene. This means checking for any visible injuries, confusion and odd behaviors. Since it is not easy to spot internal injuries, you should ensure that everyone involved in the accidents gets checked.
Keep Yourself and Others Safe
Once you have established that no one has sustained serious injuries, you should consider moving to a safer place. In the event that you are not able to get out of your car, you should turn on the hazard lights and keep your seatbelt fastened. Whenever possible, it is advisable to move the vehicle to a position where it will not block traffic.
Take Pictures and Video
It is advisable to start video recording immediately after the accident. Document EVERYTHING. Take both pictures and video if need be. You do not need ANY permission from the other driver if you are in a public place to record anything and everything in the scene. Video is even better, because if the other party admits guilt when speaking, you can present that to the insurance company and attorneys to help win your case in the event of a lawsuit. If any witnesses took video or pictures, ask them to send them to you.
If There is Significant Damage or Injuries, Call the Police
After making sure that everyone is safe, you can choose to call the police. This would be particularly important in situations where there are serious personal injuries, your car has been seriously damaged or the other driver is not willing to cooperate. The law enforcement agencies will assess the situation, make their notes as well as gather details such as pictures of the damaged vehicles and photos of the scene. The resultant police report will come in handy in case your parents decide to seek compensation.
Exchange Information With the Other Driver
You should remember to exchange information with the other driver before leaving the scene. Besides getting their name, phone number, license plate number, address and vehicle make and model, you should also exchange insurance information. All these details will be helpful during the claim process, making your parents’ lives easier. You’re in deep enough as it is; the last thing you need is annoyed parents on top of it all.
If the damage is small, you may be able to settle with the other driver and avoid involving insurance companies. Try to work out a deal for getting any damaged repaired with your parents involvement.
Call Your Parents’ Insurance Company
For anything beyond small damage, your parents should make a point of calling your insurance company as soon as they can. Often they will need to consult with a lawyer in order to negotiate with the other driver’s insurance company. By reporting immediately and giving your side of the story, this will increase the chances of the claim being successful and getting the compensation you deserve.
If you believe that the other party was at fault, you have the right to file a claim. This will ensure that you get fair compensation to cover you medical expenses as well the costs of repairing or replacing your property.