It’s a fact of life – accidents happen. Anyone who gets through the whole of their driving life without having a fender bender, minor or serious, should probably have a major highway or something equally appropriate named after them.
Driving is a carefully acquired skill but experience doesn’t necessarily reduce the risk of being involved in a fender bender. The other driver may have a lot less experience and be the cause of the accident, but even experienced drivers are not immune from a lack of concentration that could lead to a mishap.
So what are the key things to do after a road accident? Drivers should know what the proper protocol is when dealing with the aftermath of a car accident. It could save suffering, money and pain.
At the scene of the accident
First of all do not immediately leave the scene of an accident. There are penalties that will be imposed on drivers who do, and although they vary from state to state they can be severe. For example in Georgia if a driver fails to stop after an accident and a person dies or is seriously injured it will be treated as a felony and the punishment is up to five years imprisonment.
Ensure that everyone in the vehicle is all right, but if anyone is seriously injured they should not be moved until professional help arrives, unless they would be in more danger if left where they are. An ambulance and the police should be called in this case. It’s a sensible precaution to call the police anyway, even if the accident is relatively minor. They will compile an accident report, and this could be key evidence when making an insurance claim.
If cars can be moved to the side of the road, that could help prevent further accidents and help keep other traffic flowing. Use emergency flashers if they still work, or flares if available to warn oncoming motorists.
Before details are exchanged at the scene it is important to remember to remain calm, not to admit liability or accuse the other driver of being at fault. Tempers can easily be lost and could lead to verbal or physical abuse that could become a legal problem.
Names, addresses, phone numbers and email should be exchanged, together with insurance company details. License plate numbers, year of manufacture of the vehicles, make and models should all be recorded. Road condition, exact location and weather conditions should be noted and, where possible, photographs of the scene and damage to cars should be taken.
It’s also important to contact the insurance company as soon as possible, and the ability to do this will depend on the seriousness of the accident. If the accident is in Georgia, getting in touch with an Atlanta Car Accident Attorney can help to provide reassurance and expert help.
Whatever the level of accident experienced it can be quite a blow if the right procedures are not followed, so taking the time to understand what will be required in the event of one will be time well spent.