When it comes to being on the road, the last possible thing anybody wishes to experience is a crash. Even if the traffic collision was to be at low speeds, the stress and inconvenience is naturally an unwanted experience for any driver. After all, people don’t expect to crash and are often caught off guard as a result. With this lack of preparation, countless of drivers are slapped with unwarranted costs that can be drawn out over a long period of time. It does pay off to educate yourself to avoid any potential traps in a situation like this.
Here is a practical 10 step guide on what you need to do after a crash.
Step 1: Safety First
At all times you must be aware that your safety is paramount. Regardless of the intensity of the collision or its location (e.g. in a deserted parking lot or in the middle of a busy bustling road), you need to get yourself and your passengers to a safe point. By doing so, you minimise any further unnecessary risks.
Once you are met with the incident, you need to drive your car to the nearest kerb and turn your hazard lights on. If you are in a parking lot, you’ll want to park your car in the nearest vacant lot. Make sure it is safe to exit your vehicle before doing so. Contact emergency services in the event anyone is hurt.
Step 2: Legal Obligations
As legal obligations vary from one state to another, professional legal advice should be sought for specific situations. Generally speaking, you are required to do the following in a traffic collision:
- Your vehicle must come to a complete stop if involved in a collision
- You are obliged to provide your name and address to those involved
- You must report the incident to police where personal injury or property injury has occurred as a result of the collision
- Obtaining roadside assistance is necessary if your vehicle is not roadworthy – do not drive your vehicle at this stage
Step 3: Keep Calm and Carry On
Stress is a natural complement to difficult situations. A collision is no stranger to stress. It is critical to keep calm and focus on what needs to be done. Ensure you maintain politeness but keep firm in your statements. A loss of temper is a recipe for disaster.
You should obtain the following pieces of information from all drivers involved in the collision:
- Phone Number
- License Plate Number
- Car Make and Model
- Insurance Details
In the event, a driver refuses to provide the above information or drives away without exchanging information, contact the police.
Step 4: Notifying the Police
Involving the police is not always necessary in a road collision. However, in situations where a person has been injured or there are other factors contributing to the collision that are concerning (e.g. where drivers are under the influence of illicit substances or alcohol), it is important that you contact the police.
Step 5: Photos and Witnesses
Photos play an important part in telling your side of the story. After all, a picture is worth a thousand words so the more photos you are able to take from different angles, the better. It can prove to be invaluable if you are able to get a witness to the crash to confirm your version of the events. Witnesses may include a passenger, other drivers who were not involved in the crash, or a simple passerby.
Step 6: Do Not Admit Liability
It is crucial that you do not admit any liability for the collision as any verbal admission or act of admission can be used against you should legal proceedings take place. Even if you think that the crash happened because of you, avoid blaming yourself publicly.
Step 7: Roadside Assistance
If your vehicle has been damaged to the point of not being “roadworthy”, you will need to get roadside assistance. If in doubt about whether your car is roadworthy, contact your roadside assistance provider for advice on the condition of your vehicle.
Step 8: Insurance
Don’t forget to contact your insurance company for any claims you are able to make with regard to the collision. If you are uncertain about anything related to the claims process, don’t be shy and ask away. After all, they are the experts in this niche.
Step 9: Is there a Doctor in the House?
If an injury has arisen from the collision, consult a GP regardless of how minor it may seem as there may be unseen damages that need to be assessed.
Step 10: Repair and Get Back Up Again
You may have the opportunity to choose a repairer should your insurance policy include it. If not, back yourself and get your own repairer. This last phase is the waiting game of getting your vehicle repaired to get back on the road again.