what to do after a car accident

How To Deal With a Minor or Major Car Accident in USA

Going by the statistics, it can be said that the United States is the leader in car accidents, major as well as minor, and also features in the top of the list in car accident deaths. According to the report of National Highway Traffic Safety Administration or NHTSA, there are more than 35,000 deaths in the United States each year due to car accidents. It means that there is one car accident death reported in every 12 minutes.

Over the past few years, car accidents have risen steeply but the death rate in such accidents has declined. This is due to the safety features in the modern cars, better vehicles with advanced restraint systems and much more.

Causes Of Car Crash

According to the American Automobile Association, the most common causes that lead to fatal car accidents are distracted and drunken driving, driver fatigue due to overworking, speeding, bad road conditions, defective roads especially the highways and also the manufacturing defects found in the cars.

The weather also plays an important road in car accidents. Snow, rain, fog, sleet, crosswinds are all contributing factors to minor as well as major car accidents. Apart from that few other causes are erratic lane changing, road rage, failure to yield right of way, police pursuits, driving on the wrong side and not obeying traffic signals.

Steps To Follow

There are few essential steps to take after a car accident, both for the persons involved as well as a passerby. If you see an accident, the first thing you should do is to stop the car immediately and move it off the road. Switch on the hazard warning lights to notify other drivers of the obstruction to prevent further damages. You should also inform the police, fire and ambulance about the accident, especially if there are any injuries and damages to property.

If you face a car accident, then you should take some smart actions as well. First, check if you are injured and call 911 for emergency help. If the injury is serious, then you should not move and wait for the emergency personnel to arrive. If you can move then get to safety by the side of the road or on a sidewalk. Check other passengers while you wait for help to arrive. Most importantly maintain your calm and do not admit your fault at any cost.

1: What to Do After a Minor Car Accident

You have to notify the authority after a minor car accident as this will help you a lot in your future proceedings.

  • Call the police – Minor or major, you should call the police after an accident and some states even require it legally.
  • Notify Your Insurer – This is important for the claim you want to make for the damages.

Documentation Of The Accident

This is an important step to protect yourself and claim for damages according to personal injury law.

  • Identify the officer – Get the name and badge number of the police investigating the scene.
    Copy Of Report – Get a copy of the report or ask where you can get it from.
  • Take pictures – Take enough photos from different angles showing the scene, the signals, and the condition of the cars involved.
  • Get the names – Note down the names and addresses of all parties involved including the passengers.
  • Talk to witnesses – Write down the names and addresses of the witnesses and onlookers to help you in your claim.

Exchange Information With Other Drivers

Before you leave the scene you should exchange insurance and contact information with the other driver once the report has been filed with the police. Information should include:

  • Name and contact information.
  • Name of insurance company and policy details.
  • License plate number and driver’s license number.
  • Location of the accident and
  • Type, color, make and model of the vehicle.

2: What to Do After a Major Car Accident

All major accidents will cause bodily harm or death and should be reported immediately to the police. You can also call the highway patrol. When the damage caused to property and life is more and above the minimum amount, most states require a report to be made to the department of motor vehicles of the state and also to establish a financial responsibility within a time frame which is usually 5 to 10 days.

Read: Injuries and Symptoms of Different Types of Car Accident

Apart from these, reports should also be made to the insurance company. Non-compliance in reporting can result in the suspension of the license for one year. If any animal is injured, other than a cat, report for the same should also be made. Just make sure that all the reports are officially recorded and also obtain a copy for the same.

Stay Calm And Be Present

Most importantly, you should never leave the accident scene until allowed as you may face criminal charges for a hit and run case. Lastly, consider hiring a personal injury attorney to get help in maximizing your claim and to protect your rights.

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