Car accidents are more common than you think. It happens to everyone, rich and poor alike. It reminds of this story Peter Thiele, the famous venture capitalist, told an interviewer about Elon Musk, the owner of Tesla. Musk once bought a shiny new sports car and invited Thiele to drive around in it. Musk starts speeding, and predictably crashes the car. When that happens, he turned to Thiele and says, “You know I wasn’t going to be one of those rich people who buy expensive cars and crashes them. So I didn’t buy insurance.”
Car accidents can happen due to undisciplined driving, disobeying traffic laws, getting in the way of a bad driver, and also just bad luck. If you own a motor vehicle, you must always know what to do after you get into an accident. Here are several tips:
Stay at the Crash Site
The most important thing to do after getting into a car accident is not to leave the scene. If you do so, you could be charged with a hit and run if someone was injured or killed. Leaving the scene will always bear down badly on you in case someone decides to sue you for damages caused by the accident. It’s normal to panic if you get in an accident. But you must stay at the scene and explain yourself to the police.
Call 911 If Needed
If you are not injured yourself, do a quick assessment of the scene. Before checking the damage to your car, see if anyone is injured. Make sure no person or animal is hurt directly or indirectly by the accident. If there are injured, immediately call 911. If you are injured yourself, call 911 to get medical attention.
Check Your Car and Call a Lawyer
If no one is injured, you can check the damage caused to your car or any surrounding property. If the damage is extensive, you must call the police. (When the responding officers arrive, you should note down the names and the badge numbers of the cops.) This is also a good time to call your lawyer, who will be able to guide you on what to do next. You should have names and numbers of lawyers specializing in road accidents on your phone or car just in case. You can easily find one locally. For example, if you are in Salt Lake City, Utah, you should have no trouble finding a reputable Salt Lake car accident lawyer.
Write Down Information
Don’t wait to take down names, numbers, and addresses of witnesses. Write down the address or street sign where the accident occurred. Take notes of license plates in all vehicles involved in the accident. If possible, take contact information from the drivers as well. If there are passengers, take their information as well. When you do so, be extremely polite.
At the scene, do not admit to anything or apologize for anything. In the heat of the moment, you might want to say something like “I’m sorry I didn’t see that fire hydrant,” just to be polite. Don’t. Everything you say at the scene can be used against you in a court. Also, do not lose your cool and throw accusations around. Stay calm and say only what’s necessary. Once you have completed the above steps, your lawyer or the police will direct you on what to do next.