What to Do After an Accident
You thought they were going to stop.
They pulled right out like you were not there. There was no way you could avoid them.
You may have found yourself in this situation before. After an accident, people are stunned, injured, scared. Massive amounts of adrenaline dull pain in what is known the “fight or flight” response.
Post accident response in a serious collision is one of the things that you need to think through now, because at the time it is unlikely you will be thinking as clearly.
Here are steps you can take:
1. It is usually recommended that you stay in the car unless there is actual fire or burning or someone else is in immediate jeopardy. (The whitish powdery smoke you will see is from the airbags, more than likely, and is not dangerous.) Cars rarely catch on fire, but it can happen. Be careful, as many people are hit as pedestrians by passing motorists after an accident.
2. Dial 911. It is best that an ambulance with trained first responders evaluate everyone involved. Self-diagnosis after such an impact is difficult and even dangerous. Especially in cases of undiagnosed head or spinal trauma, permanent damage can be done by movement.
3. If you or another are able and out of the car, take cell phone photos of the scene. This proves the arrangement in case the cars are moved before police investigate. Do not get into fault discussions with the other parties.
4. Do accept treatment and recommendations from first responders. They are in a much better position to decide what you might require. Transport to a good Emergency Room, not necessary the closest, is desirable.
5. Follow up with general doctors and specialists as you require. The “muscle tightness” after the wreck is likely to be severe pain in the days following.
6. Contact your insurance company; and consult an injury attorney to discuss your right and responsibilities, if you believe you were not at fault.
Much like having a fire drill, these steps should be thought through before it happens. The Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimated that 37,313 people were killed in motor vehicle traffic crashes in 2008. Motor vehicle collisions the leading cause of injury death among children worldwide 10 – 19 years old (260,000 children die a year, 10 million are injured) and the sixth leading preventable cause of death in the United States (45,800 people died and 2.4 million were injured in 2005). Odds are good that you will be in at least one crash during your lifetime.
You will have an idea of what to do if that happens.