Some accidents are worse than others, and what you do in the seconds after one occurs could have a dramatic impact on any injuries you receive and your eventual recovery. One of the most devastating accidents that happen — with tragic regularity — are those involving vehicles. The high speed and weight of cars and trucks when they slam into each other means injuries are often severe or fatal.
Road traffic accidents have become a major public health problem, with around 1.3 million people losing their lives around the world each year from vehicle crashes and up to 50 million suffering various types of injuries. And the causes are many — everything from driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs to text messaging, speeding and reckless driving.
Motorcyclists are at particular risk in traffic accidents, given how exposed they are and with no structure to absorb the impact of a crash, as are pedestrians walking along the street. If you find yourself involved in a collision on the road, here’s what you need to do.
Get to a Safe Place
If cars, trucks, and vans are still whizzing around you straight after a crash, it’s vital that you get out of harm’s way — if you’re able. This is especially important if you came off a motorbike. But if you’re badly injured, you mustn’t make any unnecessary moves because doing so could make your injuries worse. For instance, motorbike riders might be tempted to remove their helmet, but it’s best to keep it on to avoid any further injury to the neck or head.
Call the Authorities
If the police and emergency medical services are not at the scene, call them — don’t leave it up to others to make the call. If you didn’t cause the accident and are already thinking about filing an insurance or personal injury claim, a police report detailing what happened will be critical in supporting your case. Sometimes the police don’t attend, especially if it’s a minor accident and they don’t have enough personnel; in such cases, try to take photographs or videos of the accident, using your phone, as you can also use them as part of a claim.
Get a Check-up
If you haven’t been treated by medical staff at the scene of the accident, either because an ambulance didn’t attend or you weren’t injured, get checked out by your doctor or at the local hospital. People in road accidents often think they didn’t receive any injuries, only for something to develop in the hours or days afterward — internal bleeding and concussion, for example.
Hire a Lawyer
After you’ve recovered from the trauma of the accident, or while you’re doing so, think about hiring the best car accident lawyers you can find. They will help get you justice and compensation for what happened to you, including collecting necessary proof, negotiating with insurance companies, and possibly preparing your case for trial.
Many personal injury lawyers, including those experienced in car accident cases, work on a contingency basis, which means there’s nothing to pay to start a case, and the law firm charges a fee only if they win — usually around 33% of a settlement figure. This means there’s no financial risk to you, and the burden is on the lawyers to work hard and win your case for you.
Getting justice and a financial award for your injuries will go a long way towards helping put you well on the road to recovery.