Boom! An accident just happened.
The sound of tires screeching to a halt, horns blaring, the jarring sound of a collision, as well as the screams of others, result in one thing: confusion.
Is everyone okay? Did anyone die? Did I get hurt? Is the car destroyed? A thousand and one questions are sure to run through your mind right after a car accident.
At that very moment, you’d have to decide what to do. For instance, who do you call first? Your family, the police, or your spouse? The decisions you make after an accident can be the difference between jail time or freedom and even life and death. Here are five common mistakes people make after an accident.
No matter what happens, never drive away from the scene of an accident. Otherwise, you’d be a “hit and run” culprit. From a Class A misdemeanor to a Class D felony, officers can file different kinds of charges against you. Such charges could result in years of jail time or severe fines.
There may be someone who needs help. It would be inhumane to speed off when you can be of assistance. Moreover, you may never know what injuries you sustained as a result of the accident. Some injuries show several days, even months later. You may not be in the right mental or physical state to drive a car. You may end up causing an accident somewhere else.
Not Averting Further Danger
A car accident, if not handled well, can cause more accidents or even aggravate harm. For instance, if the accident happens in traffic, you should pull over. Keep your hazard lights on or turn on your flares. Put a sign on the road so other motorists would be put on alert and take the right precautions.
Take stock of what happened and if any injuries need attention. Administer first aid to yourself or anyone who may need one. Unless the person is unconscious, be sure to ask permission before giving first aid to a stranger. If you feel pains or aches in any part of your body, don’t strain or try to use that part of the body. Wait until you get medical attention.
Examine the surrounding area to ensure there is no fuel leaking or fire starting. If the crash is severe, it’s best to expect the worst. You wouldn’t want to find yourself in the middle of an explosion. Step away and stand at a reasonable distance apart from the accident site while you wait for law enforcement officers and paramedics to arrive.
Not Calling the Police
While the temptation may be to call your friends and family, it may serve you better to reach out to the police first. Law enforcement officers receive training and have experience in how to respond in emergencies. They can also coordinate other first respondents, such as ambulance services, to your aid.
Right after an accident, dial 911 and wait for police officers to appear. You can call your friends and family or attorney in the interim. When law enforcement officers arrive, be sure to share all you know about the incident. Avoid guesses and speculation. If you’re not sure, say so. Your statement is valuable evidence in any subsequent legal proceedings. You would not be able to change what you said at the time quickly.
Collect a comprehensive record of the incident if you are in the right frame of mind to do so. Take photos and videos of the event and write down anything you can remember.
Whatever you say to the police or write down would be used as evidence, whether in court or in negotiating a settlement. If you’re an unselfish person or one who is empathetic, you’re likely to be the one to say, “I’m sorry, ” and “it’s my fault.”
While that may sound considerate, it can spell doom. In relating your account to the police, outline what happened without speculation or taking full responsibility unless you are 100% sure you’re responsible. Even if it seems you’re guilty, it is a good idea to hear the full details of the events leading up to the accident. It would give you a bird’s eye view of what happened before you point fingers. It is helpful to engage the services of an attorney at this time. Call your attorney for advice on how to proceed.
Not Going to the Hospital
If you’re young and healthy, odds are, you may come out of a mild accident seemingly unscathed. However, not all injuries have outward signs, such as scrapes or oozing blood. Some of the grave injuries are internal, perhaps in the brain or the heart. These injuries often pop up months later.
That’s why you should take no chances to ensure you go for a full checkup in the aftermath of an accident. As soon as you finish with the police, call your doctor or go to the nearest hospital for examination. Be upfront about what you feel so you’d be given the right treatment. What you tell the doctor and the medical treatment you receive would come in handy in the event of a court process or even for insurance purposes. Follow this site to find out more about what you should do in the hospital.
In a Sum
As long as you drive a car or use the road, you’d see or encounter a car accident. Every day, thousands of accidents occur across the globe. These accidents often result in injury, insurance claims, and even death.
Whether as a result of a collision or the sheer fear and trauma of being in a crash, many people end up in a daze. Figuring out what to do at that very moment might be hard, and mistakes are very likely. Some common errors include fleeing from the accident scene, not calling the police, and not going to the hospital. Avoid these mistakes as they can be very costly in the long run.