Car accidents are every car driver’s nightmare. Consciously or unconsciously, you are always trying to avoid an accident whenever you take your car on the road. According to statistics released by the WHO, road accidents are placed 9th on the chart of the leading causes of death worldwide. In the US alone, car accidents take more than 37,000 precious lives annually and injure or permanently disable further 2.35 million people. Not only do car accidents have the massive cost of precious lives, but they also cost a lot of money and financial loss, $230.6 billion annually to be precise, around $820 per person on average, in the US.
When it comes to Texas, unfortunately, road accidents are on an upward trajectory, and we have seen an increase in the deaths resulting from road accidents since 2010. The death rate by road accidents in Texas is the 16th highest in the US, and the fatalities included 298 pedestrians during the first six months of 2018.
No one thinks that it will happen to them, but as soon as you take your car on the road, you have a chance of being involved in a car accident, no matter how careful you are and regardless of the fact whether it is your fault or not. Even if you are not in a car and just a pedestrian, you can very well be involved in a road accident.
In the unfortunate event that you do get involved in a car accident, it can be an overwhelming experience that can alter your decision-making abilities due to the shock and adrenaline rush experienced immediately afterward. But it is these crucial moments just after the accident that are of the utmost importance.
This article presents a step by step guide which you can follow in the unfortunate event of a car accident so that you can get out of the situation with minimum damage – physical, mental, legal, and financial.
Step 1: Stay calm, and under no circumstances run away from the scene
Immediately after a car accident, shock can set in, and you may get an adrenaline rush. In this time, you might start to panic, but you must try your level best to stay as calm as possible, and under no circumstance, leave the scene of the accident, even if you think it was your fault. Leaving the scene of the accident might have significant and negative consequences for you later on, as it is considered to be an offense. So, after an accident, put the hazards of your car on, and move to safety.
Step 2: Check for injuries
Once you have calmed down, immediately check for any damages incurred by the people involved in the accident. Start with yourself, make sure you are alright, and then move on to the other passengers in the car, if any. In case injuries are incurred by yourself or the other people involved in the car accident, immediately notify the rescue services and wait for them to arrive. Do not try to move any people injured in the car accident unless it becomes absolutely necessary, like in the situation of a fire, to save their life. This is because moving them yourself might further aggravate their injuries, and that should be left for the health professionals. If you are seriously injured, you mustn’t move and wait for the trained professional rescue staff to take care of you.
Step 3: Call the police
Even if the accident was a minor one or a major one, you need to inform the police. Many times the damage inflicted on the cars or injuries incurred by the people is latent and can appear days or even weeks after the accident, thus having police collect all the essential information regarding the accident is a crucial task.
The police file an accident report when they arrive on the scene, and that report is of utmost importance in insurance and legal claims. Texas law states that it is necessary to file an accident report in the scenario of injuries incurred by the people involved in the car accident if there are fatalities, or there is property damage above $1,000.
Step 4: Collect and exchange information
Once the previous three steps have been followed and if your physical state allows, you should start collecting and noting down the information about the accident and exchange information with the other people involved in the car accident.
You should note down the name, contact number, and the address of the other driver involved in the accident. You also need to ask them about their insurance provider and their policy number. If there is another car involved in the accident, you need to note down all of its details, including the make, year, model, and registration number.
It is also important that you note down information about the accident, which should begin with the location, date, and the time at which the accident took place. Include as many details as possible, like the directions in which the cars involved in the accident were traveling, the weather conditions at the time of the accident, and the road conditions too. Once the police arrive, you should also note down the details of the police officer, which should include their name, contact details, and the badge number. This will help you track down the previously mentioned accident report which the police created. You can get a copy of this report either by asking for a physical one in the police station or by searching for “accident report Houston Texas” in the CR3 Peace Officer Report registry.
Step 5: Collect photographic evidence
It is safe to assume that almost everyone carries a phone with them, and a vast majority of the cell phones today have a camera in them. So, take as many photos of the scene of the accident as possible and cover every detail you can. These details include photographs from different angles of the cars involved, the location of the accident, the tire marks, damage to any other property, etc., and also of any injuries incurred in the accident. These photographs can come in handy if you make any claims in the future, or any claims are made against you.
It’s always better to be prepared for unforeseen circumstances than to panic in an emergency. By knowing beforehand what you’re supposed to do right after a car accident, you can minimize any long-term repercussions and ensure the situation is under control.