Every time a driver gets behind the wheel of a vehicle, they need to be prepared to potentially get into a car accident. While not a pleasant thought, over five million accidents occur yearly on average which is why knowing how to respond after an accident is so important. Start by learning how to identify the common causes of car accidents so that you can identify when one will occur. Knowing how to respond can reduce your risk of injury and help you navigate the future.
Leading Causes of Car Accidents in the U.S.
Learning to identify when an accident may occur starts with mapping out the common causes of car accidents in the United States. Most notably, the majority of car accidents are caused by:
- Drivers getting behind the wheel while under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- Drivers acting recklessly and disobeying the rules of the road
- Drivers getting behind the wheel when they are drowsy
- Drivers attempting to drive in poor weather conditions they are unaccustomed to
- Driving while distracted out on the roadway
5 Steps to Take Immediately After a Car Accident
Knowing how to respond when an accident occurs is about more than keeping yourself protected from injury. There are a number of out-of-pocket expenses after car accidents that can add up if you don’t respond correctly following a wreck. Use the following five steps to give yourself the best odds at reducing injury, both financially and physically:
1. Inspect yourself and others for injuries
First and foremost, you need to inspect yourself for injuries when an accident occurs. After you double-check to make sure you are not injured, take the time to inspect the passengers of your vehicle for injury. Even if you don’t see any physical injury, you should visit your doctor following the accident as soon as possible to make sure there are no hidden injuries.
2. Get your vehicle out of the roadway as soon as possible
Following an accident, assuming your vehicle is operable, you should get it out of the roadway as soon as possible. Oncoming traffic may not have time to respond if your vehicle is still on the road or they may not be paying attention, which can result in another accident occurring. Get your vehicle and any other vehicles involved to the shoulder of the road as soon as possible.
3. Take photos of any and all damage
For insurance purposes, you need to take photos of your own vehicle and the other vehicle involved. Even if you don’t see any damage, you will want to take a photo to act as proof that there was no damage to either vehicle in case the other driver attempts to claim that there was.
4. Exchange information with the other driver(s) involved
Getting into an accident can be a jarring experience which is why exchanging information with the other driver is one of the steps people often forget about. Trade contact information with the other person or people involved and trade insurance information so that the claims process can go quicker.
5. Contact the authorities
Finally, even if there were no injuries, it’s a good idea to contact the authorities after an accident has occurred so that they can come clean the debris out of the road. Additionally, if tensions are high following the accident, an officer can help diffuse those tensions.
Legal Options to Consider After a Wreck
In some cases, the aftereffects of a car accident won’t end when the accident does. You may have been injured in your accident unfairly and might have considered tossing the idea of a lawsuit around. In this situation, contacting a car accident lawyer may be worth pursuing so that you can receive compensation for the injuries you have suffered.
What is Personal Injury?
To those unfamiliar with the term, personal injury refers to bodily or mental injuries a person has received due to the negligent actions of another person. Some common examples of personal injury include:
- Car accidents with another vehicle or pedestrian
- Medical malpractice cases
- Slip and fall accidents
- Defective drugs or products
- Property damage incidents
When you are injured due to the actions of another person, it is quite common to file a personal injury claim in a court of law. This will open the door to a personal injury lawsuit that often ends in a settlement but can sometimes end up in a courtroom.
How Do You Prove a Personal Injury Claim?
To prove personal injury and win your case, you will be required to prove a number of factors to the court. First and foremost, you need to prove the person who caused your injury had a duty of care to keep you protected. Then, you must prove that they breached this duty in such a way that they caused your accident. Finally, you must prove that the compensation you are requesting for those injuries is justified based on what the injury is.
How Much Can a Personal Injury Lawsuit Cover?
Assuming the court agrees with your case, a personal injury lawsuit can award you a certain amount of compensation. The median award for personal injury lawsuit cases is $31,000, which is often used to cover medical expenses, surgery costs, ongoing treatment costs, and much more. While pursuing a personal injury lawsuit isn’t right for everybody, those who suffered an injury in a car accident may find that it provides them with the funds they need to be made whole.
The Bottom Line
As a driver, the last you want is to find yourself injured in a car accident, but the unfortunate truth of driving is that an accident could occur at any moment. You can only control your own actions and not the actions of others, which is why knowing how to respond if an accident does occur is so important. Should you find yourself injured following an accident, don’t hesitate to pursue remediation in a legal courtroom for the damages you have experienced as a result of another driver’s negligence.