Gerber Law Offices, LLP Dec. 3, 2016

An auto accident is traumatic, and will likely turn your day upside down. Unfortunately car accidents are not that uncommon in the United States. According to the US Census Bureau, in 2009 there were over 10.8 million traffic accidents. Consequently, it is important to know what you should do if you are unfortunately involved in an auto accident. The following 5 simple steps can help keep you safe after an auto accident:

1. Stay Calm. One of the worst decisions you can make after a car accident is to lose your cool. If you become overly upset, you will be unable to make important decisions that could save a life or you might make a bad situation into an even worse situation. So, take a deep breath, and focus on completing the next steps.

2. Move out of Danger. Determine if your vehicle is in danger of being hit by other cars on the road that cannot see you. If it is, locate a safe location and move your car away from the oncoming danger. If your car has started on fire, move away from the burning vehicle and get any other occupants to move away from it, as well. An initial crash may be severe, but dangers after an accident can be just as bad or even more damaging.

3. Check for Injuries. First, determine if you have been injured in anyway. If you feel pain, especially in your back and you are in a safe location, try not to move. Moving after you have been injured can compound the severity of an injury. Second, if you are able, check to see if other occupants in the vehicle have been injured. Do not attempt to move them if they are in a safe location and are injured. Third, check on other drivers and passengers that were involved in the accident to see if they were injured. Finally, if there are injuries, call 911 to report the accident and the injuries.

4. Call the Authorities. Call the police to help resolve the issues at the scene. Make sure you stay until they arrive, and follow what they say. You can move your car to the side of the road if it is a minor traffic accident. Answer the questions the responding officer asks. Although, do not claim responsibility for the accident until all of the facts have been gathered and you have spoken to your insurance agent or an attorney.

5. Gather Important Information. Always carry a piece of paper and a pen in your vehicle. Take it with you and ask for the other driver’s insurance information and personal information. Write down their name, phone number, and address. Also, write down their insurance carrier, a description of their car, and any other information contained within the insurance documents. Make special note if the name on the insurance documentation or owner of the car is different than the driver. Keep this information for when you speak with your insurance agent or attorney.

These 5 steps can help to lessen the severity of a bad situation. They may seem like common sense answers now, but walking through the scenario of a car accident before it happens will greatly aid you if you are ever involved in the unfortunate event.

If you have been injured it is best to at least consult a car accident attorney. These consultations are normally free of charge, and will give you important information for how you should proceed in paying for medical bills or other damages you may have sustained.

We hope your travels are safe, but that you are prepared with these 5 simple steps if you ever find yourself faced with such an unfortunate event.