What to do when you get into a car accident?

Indian roads are one of the most dangerous roads to drive on. As per the latest report of the Minister of State for Road Transport & Highways Government of India, New Delhi, it is estimated that last year, over 1,51,113 people were involved in a car accident, either directly or indirectly. Road accidents can be very overwhelming and it is easy to lose calm at that very moment. But having some basic knowledge, as to what to do at the time of the accident, can not only save lives but also save you from legal or other paperwork-related trouble while processing accidental claims. Here is a guide as to what to do in a car accident-

“Head-on Car Accident” by Chris Yarzab is licensed under CC BY 2.0

1. Safety first!

First things first, if unfortunately you have been involved in a car accident, then check whether you and the other occupants of the car are safe and sound. Most of the deaths in car accidents are caused due to delayed timely intervention of medical help to the injured. If a pedestrian is involved, then you have to provide him with necessary first aid. If you think that an occupant is seriously injured, then you must call an ambulance. You must always have a list of helpline numbers with you while traveling. When a person is seriously injured, precious time should not be lost and the person must get medical attention as soon as possible. Always make sure that your medical kit in the car is up-to-date and not expired. If the car is stuck in the middle of the road, then use a hazard triangle, given with every car, to warn other cars plying on the road. 

2. Inform the authorities

Whether serious injuries have occurred in an accident or not, you must always call the police at the scene. A police report is essential to file for an insurance claim. If the vehicles involved in an accident are blocking the road, then let them remain where they are. Let the authorities handle the situation as they are trained to handle such situations. If unfortunately, a death has occurred, then you will have to call the police to the scene so that the legal process can be followed. 

3. Make a record of the scene

One of the most important points for what to do in a car accident. To have a successful insurance claim, having photographic evidence, before the vehicles have been moved by the authorities, always helps. This detailed record will make your case stronger and the insurance company would not be able to take recourse to any loophole in their terms. You should immediately report the accident to your insurance provider so that they can start the procedure. Also when you are stating a police officer regarding the accident, you must always speak the truth. Wrong information will surely be flagged during the trial proceedings and you can face imprisonment of up to 6 years for giving false statements.  

4. In case of a minor accident

First and foremost, in case of a minor accident, keep cool and calm. You must first be concerned about the safety rather than the damage to the car. Making a scene or fighting with another driver will not solve anything. Rather you both should exchange information and let the insurance handle the matter. In case the guilty party is not cooperating, then you can always call the police and report the matter of rash and negligent driving. You must note down the vehicle number, the name of the person, insurance number, and driving license number of the other party. 

5. Know your rights

When you have received injuries and damages due to the rash and negligence of another driver, then by law, the insurance provider of the guilty party is liable to give you compensation and pay for the damages. Documentation, patience, and persistence are the key during this event, in most cases, claims are hard to come by and the lawsuit is the only option. If you are well prepared with evidence and documents, then you’ll easily get your claim. You should install a dashboard camera that will record all the evidence. If you have caused the accident, then if the charges are bailable, you have the right to be released on bail. Otherwise, you must contact a lawyer. Try to gather as many witnesses as possible to make your claim stronger. 

Parting words

As we have seen that in most of the cases involving road accidents, most of the time a life is lost because the injured person didn’t get timely medical attention. So it is important to know about what to do in a car accident.  With our medical infrastructure already overloaded, it becomes the duty of a citizen to help injured people in accidents. It is a common misconception that a person who helps a victim will then get entangled in the legal process. In a landmark judgment passed by the honorable Supreme Court, guidelines have been passed that a good Samaritan would be treated with respect and would not be harassed unnecessarily. By playing our part, we can save several lives every year. Also, last but not the least, always drive carefully.

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