You’re cruising down a familiar street, zoning out to the soft lulling sound of the radio. You look down for a second to grab your drink from the cupholder.
Before you know it, you hear an awful crunching noise. One that sends dread into your heart and a shiver down your spine.
Auto accidents occur 1.3 million times per year across the globe. But that doesn’t mean you’ll know what to do when you’re in an accident for the first time.
Keep calm and keep reading. Here are five things you’ll want to do during your first car accident.
1. Move to a Safe Area
Auto accidents rarely occur in a convenient or safe location. For that reason, you’ll need to move over to the shoulder of the road or pull off onto a safe side street.
You’ll have to exit your vehicle in a few moments, so choose a location where it’s safe to open your door and stand in the street.
Before moving your vehicle, check with the other driver(s) and agree on the location. Otherwise, it may look like you’re trying to flee the scene, which is a felony.
2. Check for Injuries
Once you’re in a secure location, look for any bumps, bruises, or broken bones. Don’t ignore any pain you may feel, no matter how small it might seem. Some injuries, like whiplash, can take days or weeks to surface.
If you’re injured, don’t hesitate to call for medical attention. It’s always better to be safe than sorry.
3. Call the Police
No matter how minor the accident is, you’ll need to get the police involved. Once they arrive at the scene of the accident, they’ll take photos of both vehicles, write down the details of your license and registration, and determine fault.
When they’ve collected all the information they need, they’ll supply each party with a copy of their report. Hold on to this document, as it’s crucial for your insurance claim.
4. Contact Your Insurance Provider
If you thought dealing with the police was scary, wait until you try to get a hold of your insurance provider.
Though you have auto insurance for this purpose, that doesn’t mean your provider will happily fork over the money you need to get your car repaired. On the contrary—they’ll do their best to pay as little as possible.
Be ready to stand your ground. Provide all documentation and don’t back down.
5. Seek Legal Representation If Needed
If your insurance provider isn’t willing to uphold their end of the bargain, or if you’ve sustained serious injuries during the accident, it may be time to get a lawyer involved. A personal injury law firm may suggest considering a personal injury case before you contact your insurance provider.
If nothing else, speaking with a personal injury firm can help you decide whether you have a case.
What to Do After Your First Car Accident
Getting into your first car accident is a terrifying experience. But it doesn’t have to leave you penniless and injured.
Remember to follow these five tips. And most of all, remember to take a deep breath.
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