A car accident can be a very traumatic experience for all involved, and one that’s probably rather expensive for all involved as well. On top of medical bills in the event of injury and time needed off from work to recover, there’s also the inevitable costs of repair that your vehicle will need.
Usually, such costs can be settled in a court case, or out of court if there’s no real dispute about who should pay for what. However, there are certain things you need to do after an accident, in order to ensure the best possible outcome for yourself.
Just driving off after an accident is inadvisable for a number of reasons. So you need to be aware of when you can risk driving your car home, and when the time has come for to get a tow.
Immediately After the Accident
It is important you collect as much evidence about the crash as possible while it is still fresh. Assuming you are uninjured, make sure you take the time to take photos of the crash scene from as many different angles of possible.
Especially important are details such as the positioning of the cars, the presence of any blinkers, and other images that can help provide context regarding the accident. If anyone witnessed the accident, make sure you get their contact details, as their account of events could prove crucial in a court hearing. The time, date and exact location of the accident are also important.
Getting details from the other driver is also an essential part of the process. Exchange contact and insurance details, and try to reach an understanding of just how the accident happened. Try as much as possible to control your temper, as you do not want to incriminate yourself in any way. At the very least, get the other vehicle’s model and its registration number.
You must also call the police. Even if the accident was relatively minor, a police report could be very helpful if you want to file a claim with your insurance company. Unless they are blocking traffic, keep your vehicles where they are. You should also seek medical attention as soon as possible as well, in case you’ve suffered injuries that aren’t immediately obvious.
When Should I Drive?
You should never drive away from an accident, even a minor one. Driving away from an accident, whether it is a full-on collision or if it is just a slight bumper tap that’s only shattered your tail lights, is considered to be a hit and run.
That is a crime, often also referred to as a failure to stop and render aid. If another person was injured or killed, then it can be elevated from a misdemeanour to a felony in certain states.
At the very least, you should stop to assess the situation and make sure everyone else is okay, including the passengers in the other vehicle.
You should only drive home once you’ve been given clearance to do so by a police officer (you did call 911 right?). If you’ve suffered injuries, or feel you may have suffered injuries, you should wait until you are given clearance by a paramedic team as well. Before this time, you should have been getting as much information necessary to lodge a claim with your insurance company and potentially back your case up in court. This may take a while, but doing so will protect you legally.
When Should I Get a Tow?
If you cannot safely drive home in your vehicle, then you should consider calling out a tow to collect your vehicle just as a matter of common sense. It may also be a good idea to call a tow truck if you want a written assessment of the damage your vehicle as suffered, and a quote on the costs it will take to repair it.
These are useful not only for your insurance, but also an excellent piece of written evidence should you find yourself in a claims case. In both cases, it may help you find a way to pay off the costs of repairs to your vehicle.
Always err on the side of caution. If you are not sure how severely damaged your car is after an accident, call out a tow. It is preferable to have an unnecessary garage bill than risk another accident because the accident has impaired your vehicle’s performance on the road.
If you do get in a wreck, and need a good body shop, he highly recommends turning to linearautomotive.com.