When it comes to being on the road, no matter how careful you are, there is always a risk of running into an accident.
Accidents in the US
According to the WHO, road crashes are the leading cause of death among young people in the United States.
Each year the country suffers over six million car accidents that lead to a loss in billions when it comes to property damage and other economic losses. It is shocking to see that each day ninety people lose their lives in car crashes, where 6% of all vehicle accidents in America result in at least one death.
Such figures tend to vary from state to state, with Texas topping the list with the highest number of fatalities. Unfortunately, in Texas, there are over 3,000 reported fatal car crash cases each year. As harrowing as these numbers sound, it becomes equally important to make ourselves aware of the reasons behind a large number of car accidents in an attempt to educate ourselves on safe driving practices. Some of the most common reasons for road accidents in Texas are speeding, distracted driving, and driving under the influence of intoxicants. Due to a high number of reported car accident cases, states like Texas turn towards automation when it comes to filing and reporting incidents. The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) is responsible for maintaining crash records for the state of Texas. A TxDOT crash report can be released on request, after payment of a fee, to anyone who is directly involved in an accident.
What to do after a car accident
We understand that an auto vehicle crash is an unpleasant experience for both parties involved and can leave a person completely overwhelmed by the shock the moment it takes place. While each situation will vary from person to person, there are certain essential things to keep in mind.
Understanding these five critical steps in advance will save you mountains of trouble later if you are to experience an accident.
- Seek medical help
The very first thing to do once you have been in an accident is to stay calm and check yourself for injuries. The high levels of stress in your body may make it difficult for you to realize if you are seriously hurt, which is why you need to check if you can stand up and walk around. You should especially check for any signs of visual damage. If you feel like you are not exhibiting signs of being hurt, you should immediately check up on the rest of the passengers of your car, if any. It is important to note that no matter what, you should immediately call for an ambulance because often injuries do not manifest until much later; therefore, it is better to call for professional help.
- Call 911
Whether you have been part of a minor accident or a major one, you should stay at the scene and call the police as it is your responsibility to do so. If the incident occurs in a high traffic zone, you should move yourself to safety, but you must call the concerned authority. In some states, you are mandated by law to do so. In the state of Texas, you are required to report the accident to the police if someone is injured or if there is a damage of more than $1000 to the vehicle. However, we suggest that you always speak to an officer regarding the accident no matter how minor it may be.
- Collect information about the accident
While you wait, the third important thing for you to do is to collect and exchange as much information as you can about the scene of the accident. In case of a collision with another driver, while it may be best to limit interaction to avoid the blame game or to admit guilt, you need to gather necessary information such as:
- Complete name and contact information of the other driver
- Driver’s license and license plate number
- Vehicle information-model, color, type
- Insurance company information
- Location of accident
- Document all evidence
As you are collecting information about the other driver, it is best for you also to document everything related to the scene of the crime to bolster your position when determining the cause of the accident.
You need to take out a pen and paper and make personal notes that you can refer to later. We suggest you even include a diagrammatic sketch of the scene of the accident that depicts how it happened, including the direction of both vehicles at the time of the collision.
Other ways of documentation would be to take pictures of the scene and your car, especially if any damage has been caused to it. You should also talk to witnesses and try taking their word on camera, with their consent, of course. Photos and videos will help when you file a claim with your insurance company and need to provide the necessary evidence to the company.
- Notify your Insurance Company
A critical step to take right after getting into an accident is to notify your insurance company. Your insurance providers have emergency claim numbers that you should dial into straight from the scene of the accident. This is useful because you will be able to provide complete and accurate details of any information they require. Having a police officer there helps because if you are too shaken to talk, they can provide any details required.
Informing your insurance company in time is important to strike a better protection deal for yourself in case the other driver decides to file a claim against you. Not doing so might lead to both financial and legal consequences. When it comes to insurance companies, it is best to explain and present the facts early and to not misquote any details because doing so can land you in serious trouble!
Being part of a car accident is an extremely traumatic experience, mainly because the shock leaves you confused as to what to do next. Luckily we have highlighted the main things to keep in mind if you are to experience such an event. Understanding these steps will equip you to deal with the aftermath much better if you find yourself in that situation.