Over the last century, driving has allowed people around the world to connect with one another in new ways, and has changed transportation entirely. In the modern day, not owning a car is typically seen more often in large cities where driving is more of a nuisance. This means that the average person spends far more time in a vehicle than ever before historically.
To that point, however, car accidents have also become more common due to the larger number of cars on the road. Being involved in a car accident can be a scary and distressing experience, which is why learning what to do when an accident occurs is so important.
How Common Are Car Accidents?
While nobody thinks about the possibility of a car accident when they get behind the wheel, it’s important to recognize their prevalence. On average, thirteen car accidents occur every minute in the United States, with the statistic increasing by a larger margin on the global scale. While not all of these accidents are fatal, each one costs time, money, and can have long-lasting impacts on a person’s outlook towards driving.
How Likely Are You to Be Injured in a Car Accident?
Given the large number of car accidents that happen on a daily basis, it’s only natural to assume that the likelihood of being injured in a wreck is high. In fact, a study by Forbes Advisor found that a fatal car accident occurs every 15 minutes in the United States. Going further, a person actually has a higher likelihood of being injured depending on their gender.
Due to having, on average, a smaller stature than men, most women need to sit closer to the steering wheel and higher up in order to see. This puts their bodies in a more vulnerable position in the event of a crash, leading to a higher likelihood of injury on average.
7 Steps to Follow When an Accident Occurs
Now that the prevalence of car accidents has been outlined, it’s beneficial to learn the seven steps all drivers should follow if they find themselves involved in a wreck:
1. Call 911
First and foremost, don’t forget to give 911 a call if there is an accident. Even if there haven’t been any injuries, it’s helpful to report the accident so that a unit can be sent to inspect if there was damage to the road or if debris needs to be cleared off of the road. Additionally, police officers can help the drivers sort out any insurance trading issues that may arise.
2. Get all cars out of the road if possible
Assuming there are no pressing injuries that need immediate attention and that the vehicles are still functional, try to get them to the side of the road as soon as possible. Remaining in the road where the crash occurred is dangerous as other drivers may not see you in time, creating a pileup, and it creates the risk of being hit by a car that is passing by.
3. Inspect yourself and any others for injuries
During any car accident, no matter how minor, always check yourself for any injuries and then inspect your passengers. Keep in mind that not all injuries will present themselves physically. After an accident, you should always visit your PCP to confirm there is no internal problem following the accident.
4. Trade information with the other driver
After inspecting yourself for injuries and contacting the authorities to inform them of what occurred, you’ll want to exchange insurance information with the other driver. While you’re trading information, exchange phone numbers and take a photo of both their insurance and driver’s license.
5. Take photos of your vehicle to record damage
After a car accident has occurred, take photos of both your vehicle and the other drivers’ vehicle as well. While it would be nice to trust everybody you meet at first glance, some people may try to extort you by inflicting damage to their vehicle after the fact and claiming it happened during the wreck. Having photos of the aftermath will quickly disprove this scam.
6. Report the incident to your insurance company
All drivers with insurance should inform their respective company that an accident has occurred so that the company can launch an investigation into who was at fault and the overall claims process. The other driver’s insurance company will be contacting you and your insurance company, which is a major part of the reason you want to inform your company of what has happened.
7. Speak with a lawyer if negligence was involved
In some cases, you may believe that the other driver committed such an egregious error that legal action is warranted. While car accident lawsuit cases have a long settlement period, you could be eligible for more compensation than you would have been just going through the insurance company. If another driver showed negligence, such as blatantly running through a stop sign or red light, or if they were driving recklessly, then you may have a legal case on your hands. Contact a lawyer to discuss your case and what occurred to see if there are actions you can take to receive compensation for your bodily damage or damage to your vehicle.
The Bottom Line
Even the smallest car accident can have serious health implications, which is why the best way to stay safe in an accident is to avoid it entirely. Follow helpful rules of the road such as leaving three seconds of space between you and the car in front of you to maximize reaction time. At the end of the day, defensive driving is the best way to stay safe on the road. If you are in an accident and believe another driver is at fault, don’t hesitate to contact an accredited attorney in your area to see what legal options you may have.