The driving population has had a major change in behavior since the beginning of the Covid -19 pandemic. According to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety’s New American Driving Survey, “The average number of all daily personal car trips plunged 45% in April 2020 and 40% for trips by all modes of transportation combined” (2020). Due to nationwide safety guidelines, we saw a decrease in road traffic that trickled into the next few years. Although traffic decreased, we see an increase in fatal vehicle accidents of an estimated 38,680 people, the highest recorded of vehicle accident fatalities since 2007.
Coming into 2022, people are excited to get back on the road. From self-driving electric cars to new generations of drivers, it’s important now more than ever to remain cautious as we get back into our daily driving habits. Although we can’t anticipate when a car crash will happen, there is crucial information to consider when involved in a vehicle accident.
Why Vehicle Accidents Happen
There are a variety of reasons vehicle accidents can happen. Most, if not all, of the reasons, are very much controllable by the driver. As an experienced driver you are obligated to follow the laws of the road. Traffic laws are made to keep people safe on the road, forbidden actions like speeding, running red lights, distracted driving, not using a signal, not stopping for emergency vehicles, and so much more are established to prevent vehicle accidents. Even if you consider yourself a well-rounded driver, it’s other, not so responsible, drivers on the road you should be aware of. If you drive safe and are always aware of your surroundings, you should go through life having minimal to no car accidents. If you’re not so lucky, remember the steps to take if you’re in this situation with another vehicle.
If you have been in a car accident, the first thing you should do is a self-assessment. Look at your body to feel for any abrasions or injuries, make sure your vision is clear and your breathing is stable. If this all checks out, you can begin the routine vehicle accident procedure.
1.) Stay on the scene.
Never flee the scene of a car accident regardless of who’s at fault. There are serious legal repercussions if you leave the scene.
2.) Dial 911.
Regardless of the communication between the two parties, it’s imperative to contact a neutral party to assess and document the situation. The police will always be the first ones on the scene serving as someone both parties can trust.
3.) Document the scene.
If you can safely get out of your vehicle do so and immediately take photos of everything. Document both cars, the placement of the vehicles, the general landscape of the scene, and license plates.
4.) Exchange information.
Takedown the other parties’ information like their first and last name, phone number, year, make, and model of vehicles, and insurance information.
Depending on the conditions of your vehicle, you can leave the scene, or police will call a tow for severely damaged cars. When all 4 steps are handled it needs to be reviewed by both insurance companies so compensation for damage can be established.
If you are injured from the accident, your health takes priority. If you are injured stay in your car and dial 911 immediately. Wait for the police and medics to arrive to take you to the nearest hospital. At this point, you are not obligated to speak to anyone regarding insurance or the exchange of information. Police will document this for you. Your well-being is most important at this point. There are many instances where injuries don’t present themselves for up to 72 hours after the accident due to the high levels of adrenaline, so give yourself time. Once your injuries are assessed and treated, talk to your doctor. Build your file of documents that include insurance information as well as documentation of medical treatment. Only at this point will you be obligated to speak to the insurance company. It’s important to know your rights, and if you need support, reach out to an attorney like Rob Levine, who specializes in vehicle accident claims and much more.
Regardless of the severity of the accident, you will have to deal with the auto insurance companies representing each party. It’s important to note you have more rights than you might be aware of, and insurance companies can take advantage of that. Therefore, attorneys at Rob Levine & Associates recommend all victims of a vehicle accident, personal injury, medical malpractice, or any other injury claim, speak to a professional before accepting anything from the insurance companies. There are about 6 million motor vehicle accidents each year. Operate your vehicle safely and attentively as a vehicle accident can happen to anyone. If you are in a vehicle accident and need help, contact the law offices of Rob Levine & Associates.