Alabama drivers should know what steps to take immediately after an auto accident to protect their safety and their legal rights.
Many people in Birmingham pride themselves on being safe, conscientious drivers. Unfortunately, these individuals still face a high risk of experiencing car accidents. According to ABC News, in 2015 alone, over 88 crashes occurred daily in Alabama. Troublingly, a recent analysis of Federal Highway Administration data even ranked Alabama as the sixth most dangerous state to drive in. Given these statistics, it is crucial for local drivers to be prepared for accidents by understanding what to do in the event of one.
1. Clear the roadway
According to The Huffington Post, many drivers mistakenly believe that they should leave their vehicles in place after serious motor vehicle accidents to avoid disturbing any evidence. However, this can raise the risk that additional vehicles will become involved in the accident. Drivers who are still capable of operating their vehicles should move them to the side of the road as soon as doing so is safe.
2. Call 911
Next, drivers should call authorities to report the accident and, if needed, secure medical attention. U.S. News notes that drivers are not legally required to report an accident if it causes only minor property damage and no physical injuries. However, even in these cases, drivers can generally benefit from making an official report to a neutral third party. This report can provide an objective form of evidence in the event that drivers must make an insurance claim.
3. Record what happened
According to the same source, drivers can benefit from gathering other evidence to help support any insurance claims that they may make later. Drivers can photograph the accident scene and the damage to both vehicles, for example, or they can collect contact information from any witnesses. Drivers should remember that other motorists might deny their role in the accident later, especially if they were at fault. This can make documentation of the circumstances of the accident invaluable.
4. Notify insurers
After exchanging contact and insurance information, drivers should report the crash to their insurance providers. The Huffington Post notes that drivers should be wary of making agreements with other motorists instead of making insurance claims. This can be dangerous because other drivers may fail to uphold their side of the deal. Additionally, some consequences of an accident, such as soft tissue injuries, may not be apparent immediately. By reporting the accident to an insurance provider, drivers can reduce their risk of losing out on appropriate recourse.
5. Seek professional advice
Finally, people who sustained injuries in car crashes that another motorist caused may benefit from consulting with an attorney. Securing needed compensation for a serious auto accident injury can be difficult, and drivers who handle their claims alone may make mistakes that reduce their likelihood of a favorable outcome. An attorney may be able to assist a driver in investigating the crash, documenting the circumstances and pursuing an amount of compensation that is reasonable given the situation.