Driving is an everyday necessity for a lot of people, being one of the major means of transportation to and from work. But driving is still dangerous. Just because you have your license, that does not mean you are the best driver. In fact, automobile accidents occur every day, and it is your responsibility to stay safe at all times. The following five steps are required by law in the event that you are involved in an automobile accident.
The first step you must take when you are involved in an automobile accident is to stay at the scene of the accident. If you leave the scene, you will be charged with a hit and run, serve up to one year in jail, and pay a fine of up to $2,500. You may be required to do both depending on the severity of your actions and the state that you are in.
It is your responsibility to make sure that nobody needs medical attention as the second step of what to do after an accident. In the event that someone does need medical attention, but you are not certified to help them, then you must find someone who can. If unable to find suitable help for the person in need, keep them still and make sure that the person remains calm until authorities can arrive and assess the situation.
The third step is considered “traffic clearance.” In the event that you are involved in an automobile accident but no one is hurt, the law states that all drivers involved can and should move their vehicles out of the way of traffic. This is done for the purpose of maintaining a steady traffic flow and also to prevent any further accidents from occurring at the scene.
If you have not already done this, the fourth action item is to call the police. You are required make an accurate report of what has happened and provide authorities with any information requested over the phone. This includes but is not limited to your name, emergency, location, and so on. The operator may even request that you stay on the phone until you hear the sound of sirens. They ask this of you so that they can verify the dispatched units are in the correct area.
The final step required by law is to exchange information with other drivers involved in the car accident, your name, your address, your contact details, and your insurance carrier information. If the owner of another vehicle involved in the accident is nowhere to be found or unavailable, leave a note somewhere that they can find it. The note should include the name and address of the driver of your vehicle, and the license plate of the vehicle that caused the crash. If you are unsure of the latter portion of the note, do not write it down.
A few other things can help you as well but are not required by law: first, take photos of the scene of the accident. This can be useful later on if the accident goes to court. In addition to this, try taking a deep breathe. Even if you feel calm, try to calm yourself down. It is quite important to maintain a calm demeanor through out all of this, because if you are panicking you are more likely to make rash decisions.
Take note that you still have a legal responsibility on top of all of this. Even if the driver is being distracted by a passenger, causing the accident to occur, the driver will be held at fault. The driver is the one behind the wheel, and it is the one responsible for the safety of him/herself as well as the safety of others. It is their job to make sure that these things do not happen in the first place. However, to counter that, it is not always the driver’s fault of your vehicle. Another driver may not be looking at the road when you collide, which if brought up in court will put the burden of the accident on their shoulders.