- 1 Involved in a traffic accident? Here are the things you should do
- 2 Common causes of traffic accidents
- 3 What do you do if you are involved in a traffic accident?
- 4 What if the car accident was partly or entirely your fault?
- 5 Contact a qualified legal advisor
Involved in a traffic accident? Here are the things you should do
According to the Association for Road Safety International (ARSI) in the US alone Every year 37,000 people die in traffic accidents. Another 2.35 million are either injured or disabled.
The frequency of traffic accidents is fast becoming an important public health problem. The World Health Organization (WHO) has road accidents as 9th leading cause of death, accounting for 9% of all deaths worldwide.
With this in mind, it is important that you know exactly how to react in the event of a car accident. How are you? Who are you calling? This article answers all of these questions and more.
Common causes of traffic accidents
the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) confirms what we all already know: driver error is the main cause of traffic accidents. In fact, it accounts for 90% of all traffic accidents. Unsafe driving or failing to recognize road hazards is one of the mishaps associated with drivers.
Other driver mistakes are inattention and loss of concentration while driving. Overspeeding, driving under the influence of substances, not staying in the right lane, and refusing to yield were also identified as common causes.
However, other factors can also be responsible for traffic accidents. Roads, bad weather or vehicle errors are some of them.
What do you do if you are involved in a traffic accident?
Traffic accidents are not pleasant experiences. Knowing what to do and not making things worse is very important. After a traffic accident, there are several steps you should take immediately to create a solid basis for your claim. Here are some of the things you should do:
#1: Protect yourself and others from danger
Your safety and that of the other people involved in the traffic accident comes first. Keep yourself and others involved in the accident away from the danger.
If you can move your vehicle off the road so it doesn’t block traffic. Setting up cones and flares to warn oncoming vehicles of the accident also helps prevent further accidents.
#2: Don’t leave the scene of the accident
In many states it is against the law to start driving or to leave the scene of an accident. Unless you are actually going for immediate medical attention or some other emergency, do not leave the scene of the traffic accident until the police arrive.
This could mean trouble for you. Depending on the circumstances, you may be charged with a misdemeanor or criminal offense.
#3: Call the police
If the accident caused serious injury, call 911 for immediate assistance. If not, you can call the local police emergency number.
Many state laws require you to report the car accident immediately. In New York for example You must notify the local police or local sheriff as soon as a traffic accident occurs.
If you call the police they will also give you an accident report. The police report documents the accident. It will also help you get compensation for the injury or damage you suffered.
#4: Seek medical help
The accident and injury you suffered may not be as “minor” as you think. You should take your health seriously. While you may not feel anything or even show signs of illness, don’t assume everything is fine.
Some injuries, such as internal bleeding or damage, may not be easy to detect immediately after the accident. You should therefore consult a doctor no later than 48 hours after the accident.
Don’t forget to document your injuries and medical reports. The documents will help you to claim injuries from the traffic accident.
#5: Document the incident and gather information
Before the police or first responders arrive at the scene, you can use the time to gather relevant information. Take photos – and even videos – of accidents, locations, vehicles, and other facts about the accident, including skid marks.
You may need this to describe the “chain of events” and determine whether or not the road accident was someone else’s fault.
This is also the perfect time to gather information about vehicles or people involved in the incident. Relevant things you may need information about include:
- Name and contact information of the driver(s) and data subject(s);
- The make of the vehicles involved;
- The license number of the vehicles involved; and
- Name and contact of witnesses to traffic accident;
- All insurance information
- Possible witnesses
#6: Say little, see much
You must answer the police or investigators’ questions to the best of your knowledge. Remember that anything you say at the scene of an accident could be used against you later.
Don’t say things like “I should have been more careful”. This is not fact, it is your own opinion and not required at this time. Statements like these can further damage your claim and give the insurance company something to hold on to when downgrading or denying your claim.
What if the car accident was partly or entirely your fault?
What if you are actually to blame? Each case is unique in itself. The doctrine of “comparative negligence” is used in many states. Here the court will award compensation even if it can be established that you also contributed to the fault. This is possible if a material negligence of the other person or the other persons involved can be established.
Contact a qualified legal advisor
Gathering evidence in many road accidents may not be instantaneous. This is especially true for accidents where you would need immediate medical attention. However, your car accident lawyer will conduct any necessary investigations once you have informed them of the accident.
With a qualified auto accident attorney, you have a better chance of getting proper compensation for your injury.