I remember the day that I passed my driver’s license test like it was yesterday. I could see the freedom in my head. The number of places that I would get to go to and explore was zooming in and out of my mind. I couldn’t have been more excited. Getting your driver’s license is definitely a rite of passage, something that teens always look forward too, and I had finally gotten mine.
Unfortunately, the excitement soon ended when my dad told me that I wasn’t allowed to take the car out by myself for at least a year. He didn’t want me to get into a car accident at a young age. He claimed that I would be reckless and careless on the road, which I definitely rolled my eyes at back then.
When he finally did allow me to take the car out, the unthinkable happened. I got into my first accident. I can still hear the terrible screeching sound in my head. (Let me just say here that it wasn’t my fault that I got hit. Really.) Someone had changed lanes into mine and hit the front ride side of my car. I panicked and didn’t know what to do. Literally, I just freaked out and went crawling back to my dad for help. Not the best of times.
That event is what inspired me to become an extremely cautious driver and also what inspired this blog. I personally hate the feeling of being unprepared, but that is exactly what I was after I got into my first car accident. Let me help you avoid that feeling.
You got into a car accident, now what?
We all know that car accidents happen on a pretty regular basis, but have we fully grasped how often it really happens? Houston personal injury lawyer, Ben Bronston, reports that there are over 10 million motor vehicle accidents a year. 10 million. It has also been found that roughly 37,000 people die in car accidents every year, and 8,000 of those are young drivers between the ages of 16 and 20. Be careful and alert when driving out there!
The first step is actually a step that you must take before an accident even happens. There are a few things that you should keep in your car at all times that will prove to be helpful if you get into an accident. Here are a few things that you may need:
- Your car insurance card.
- Vehicle registration.
- Medical insurance card.
- Jumper cables.
- Rags or towels.
Move your car
If you are hit in the middle of the highway or intersection, try and move your car to a safe place, out of immediate traffic. Try not to move too far from the scene of the accident as that will make it difficult for the police to collect accurate information on the collision. If you are unable to move the car, turn on your hazard lights, and signal to other drivers that they need to slow down and go around you.
After relocating to a safe place, call 911 for medical assistance. It is always important to get checked out even if you think that you feel fine. Some injuries may not be immediately apparent, so get an examination to be sure.
Take a breath
You’re probably in a state of shock right now. So after moving your car to safety, take a deep breath and try to remind yourself to stay calm. After the police arrive at the scene, explain to them what happened as clearly as you can, but do not admit fault. Everything that you say to them will be documented and could be used against you in court.
After getting in a car wreck, it is important for you to collect the information of the other driver. Take photos of the insurance card, driver’s license, and license plate. You should also obtain their contact information. This includes the names and phone numbers of anyone who was in the other car and of any witnesses who may have seen the accident occur.
Lastly, take photos of the scene and of the cars involved. Photos are really important for insurance claims and could be needed in court if it gets to that point. Try to take pictures from various angles to really capture the amount of damage that was done. Remember to also take pictures of the scene and its surroundings.
Before speaking to an insurance company, try to secure a car accident lawyer who is experienced and well-versed. They will give you the proper legal guidance and advice on what to do next. Attorneys can also help speak to the insurance companies for you so that you don’t have too. Never sign any contracts or agreements without having your lawyer look it over.
Car accidents are scary and traumatic. After my first accident, I refused to drive by myself for months! I just couldn’t shake the feeling that it was going to happen again, you know? I hope that these action items will help you if an accident ever happens to you, but I hope you’ll never need them! Safe driving out there!