Being involved in a car accident can be one of the most devastating events in your life. I had a relatively minor one a couple of years ago and it ended up being rather life-changing. Hopefully, we are all doing the best we can on the road, but things do go wrong. Even if you’re the best driver out there, you can’t control how other people behave on the road in their cars. I found this out abruptly on an Indians highway when I was least expecting to. Nevertheless, I also learned a few things about how to navigate a car accident for the best outcome.
One of the first things you can do to have a positive outcome in any accident is to stay as calm as possible. I know it might be difficult, considering the shock of what just happened. Your adrenaline kicks in and wants you to do something to be safe. You might also have sustained an injury that prevents you from being yourself. Do try to pull yourself together, however, especially if you have children in the car that need adult guidance and support.
Try to call for help as soon as possible, so the police and an ambulance can be on their way. As much as you can, check to make sure you are not hurt badly, bleeding, or need emergency care. You can then check on other passengers in your car and others involved in the accident. Try to avoid the temptation to get emotional or talk about the accident or anything personal to the other drivers involved.
Seek Medical Help
Obviously, if you are badly hurt, medics will be called and you will be taken to the hospital. However, I do recommend that you seek medical help on your own, even if you don’t think you are hurt badly. Waiting to be seen could cost you, later on, should an injury show up. Things like whiplash, shoulder injuries, and concussions are common in even minor accidents but may not be apparent on the scene.
The best way to be sure any potential injuries are documented is to go to the emergency room immediately. They can do an assessment there and have you follow up with your primary physician.
It is important to capture as much evidence as possible by taking pictures and video of any injuries and damage to your vehicle, other vehicles, and property. I also advise you to get a photo of the other driver’s license, registration, and license plate.
You can also take pictures of the area in which the accident happened. This can help you to explain the accident and scenario to insurance companies and legal counsel. Do also get information from any witnesses who can corroborate your story. Once you gather the necessary evidence, contact your insurance company as soon as possible.
Seek Legal Advice
You may want to take steps with an injury attorney to ensure you get any compensation that you deserve. You can easily seek legal help for an accident with experts such as My Injury Attorney or get a referral from a friend or family member. I do recommend that you interview any potentials to make sure they are a good fit for you and your case. Choosing the wrong attorney could cost you thousands of dollars in an injury settlement.
Do also take your time in closing out the case if you have sustained bodily injuries. Some injuries can take more time and money to heal, something you and your doctor(s) won’t necessarily be able to predict in the beginning.
Be Prepared to Feel Anxious or Scared to Drive
Something that many people don’t realize about driving after an accident is that anxiety and fear can be present for quite some time. It is also not uncommon for accident victims to suffer from PTSD and other mental illnesses. Even a minor accident can zap your confidence to get behind the wheel again. I didn’t drive for about 2 months after my accident. Even then, I was a little shaky and hypervigilant. I remember feeling especially nervous around the area where the accident took place.
Get Repairs Done
Finally, make sure you get all of the necessary repairs done to your vehicle. If you report this accident to your insurance company, they will be able to help you get your vehicle fixed by a reputable dealer. It is important that your vehicle is safe once again.
Being in an accident is not something that most of us even think about preparing for. This is why, when it happens, it can be so shocking and confusing. If you put an accident checklist in your car’s glovebox, you’ll have it there in case something happens. Trust me, you’ll want this because accidents are jarring and can leave you feeling out of it and not able to function at your best. Be safe out there.