According to the Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicle, there were 402,592 crashes in Florida in 2018. This number includes all crashes including automobiles, motorcycles, bicycles, and pedestrians. Accidents occur for many reasons. Lack of sleep by a driver, distracted drivers, drunk drivers, and more. But no one plans an accident, which is why they are called accidents. Since they can happen at any time, it is best to know in advance what to do when they happen. Here are five tips on what to do in a car crash.
1. Stop, Then Assess the Situation
After a car accident, you must stop. Driving away without stopping is a crime.
Once your vehicle comes to a complete stop, you need to determine whether you are injured and how seriously you are hurt. Then do the same with any passengers in your car.
Turn on your hazard lights, if they work. Then take a look around to see what’s going on around you. If it is safe to do so, set up flares or traffic cones if you have them to alert other drivers to be cautious. If cars must be moved prior to the police arriving, take photos first so the location of the vehicles after impact is documented, if possible. But safety from any additional risk of harm is most important.
2. Take Action
If anyone was injured due to the accident, promptly call emergency personnel. Then call the police. You will need their report for your insurance, even if you only need to recover for your property damage. If you were injured in the accident, or are needed to help perform first aid, ask one of your passengers or a bystander at the scene to make the calls.
If you have a passenger in your car who suffered injuries to their head, back or neck, do not move them. Open a window if you can to provide them with fresh air. Cover them with a blanket or additional clothing to keep them warm.
3. Gather Information at the Scene
At the scene, you will need to exchange contact information, driver’s license numbers and insurance policy information with anyone involved in or injured by the crash. This includes all drivers, passengers, and pedestrians. Contact information includes names, addresses, and phone/cell numbers. Then obtain contact information from any witnesses who saw the accident happen. They may leave the scene, so don’t wait too long to get their information. Take photos of all parts of your car and any other cars that have damage. Write down all license plate numbers, too.
If anyone has visible injuries, take photos of those as well, if you can. However, do not impede emergency personnel to do so. Do not discuss who was at fault for the accident with the other drivers or anyone at the scene. You may believe you were at fault, but future information may be revealed to show that the other party was in the wrong. The other driver could have been driving under the influence, run a red light, or a host of other things that you may not know about. Be truthful and accurate with the police. Provide them only with the information you are sure about. Do not be afraid to say you don’t know the answer to something they ask. If you don’t know, just say you don’t know.
4. Seek Medical Treatment Promptly
Many people make the mistake of failing to seek medical attention promptly after a car crash. Due to the adrenaline rush after an accident, it can sometimes take a day or two before you feel the effects of your injuries. But, a delay in treatment can work against you if you wait too long. Explain to your doctor what hurts at the time and what happened to your body during the accident. For instance, did you hit your head, shoulder or knee against the inside of your car? Or were you hit from the side and your body was thrown toward the opposite side of your car? Do not be shy about letting them know you will come back to see them if you notice anything else hurting over the next few days or if your pain gets worse. A more serious injury in one area can trick your brain into not noticing pain in another area of your body. And you also may not notice you are hurt until you try to pick up something heavy.
5. Call an Attorney
Even if your injuries seem minor and your property damage was minimal, talk to a Florida accident attorney as soon as you can – especially before giving any statements to your insurance carrier or the other driver’s insurance carrier. You need to protect your rights – the right to recover for your injuries and property damage and also to protect you from claims that may be made by the other parties involved in the accident. An attorney can give you more post car accident tips, including advice on ensuring your injuries are treated and documented properly by your medical providers, how to recover for time lost from work due to your injuries, and assist with obtaining reimbursement for a rental car. Your attorney can also help you gather all the documentation you need to ensure you are able to seek a full recovery when it comes time to settle your claim or prove your case.
Now You Know What To Do In a Car Crash
Accident scenes are often chaotic and stressful. Stay calm and remember these tips for what to do in a car crash. Focus on preventing additional injury at the scene and making sure those who were injured get treated. And get the information you need to document what happened, who was involved, and who witnessed it. If you or someone you love was involved in an accident, contact us. We are here to help. For more articles like this one, check out the Beltz & Beltz blog section.