For a century now automobiles have been one of our greatest assets and one of our greatest liabilities. The progress brought by cars includes faster, more efficient travel, increased freedom, as well as millions of jobs. However, as with all progress, there have been significant costs since cars have become a staple in modern society. The freedom allowed by cars increases the likelihood of accidents and injuries. In 2014, car accidents were the leading cause of death for people over the age of 11. Some of these accidents are just that, honest mistakes or technical malfunctions that cause a car to strike another car or pedestrian. Other incidents, however, are related to distracted or impaired driving. Of course, these events are still called accidents, even though typically one or more people are to blame for the collision, in which case a car accident settlement may come.
Driving under the influence has been an issue since the birth of the automobile. While laws have become stricter over the years, there are still over 300,000 instances of drunk driving on a daily basis (only 4,000 or so of these people are arrested). This leads to a drunk driving related injury every two minutes on average. Beyond impaired driving, today it’s also very common for drivers to be distracted by their phones or other electronic devices while driving. This distracted driving is just as serious and dangerous as impaired driving, since it keeps one’s eyes and brain off the road. Things are constantly changing and happening while we drive, so even a second-long distraction can result in an accident, be it a text message or notification.
Even with all of these statistics, car accidents might not seem all that common. The fact is, there are simply so many cars on the road in the world it’s unlikely you’ll see an accident as often as these numbers seem to suggest. However, accidents to happen, whether someone is to blame or not. If you find yourself getting into an accident, there are a few important steps to take to getting yourself back on track.
1) Assess the Situation
All car accidents are different. Some are minor and result in minimal damage and no injury, while others are severe and destructive. The latter case will usually end in some kind of car accident settlement. Additionally, with some accidents one party is clearly to blame, in which case you must keep this mind going forward (whether it’s you or the other person). In more significant accidents it’s crucial to share insurance information with the other party and also call the police to file a report. Having a decent understanding of the type of accident matters when it comes to police reports, insurance claims, and possibly legal matters. Keeping a clear head will make the process simpler and more just as it unfolds.
2) If Possible, Take Pictures
After speaking with the other party and police, if possible, take pictures of the damage to your vehicle, even if it seems minor. These photos will be necessary for filing an accurate insurance claim and arriving at a car accident settlement. Additionally, be sure to take pictures of the surrounding areas affected by the accident, and also any injuries you’ve sustained as a result of the incident.
3) Seek Medical Attention
If you have sustained injuries it’s important to get medical help as soon as possible. Some people suffer shock after a car accident, meaning some injuries go unfelt and unseen. Medical professionals can assess whether or not you need attention better than you might be able to. It’s important to trust their judgement for your own safety. Even in somewhat minor accidents, it’s good to play it safe and have emergency medical technicians take a look at you and anyone else involved in the accident.
4) Hire a Good Car Accident Attorney
Again, in more serious car accidents legal action might need to be taken to arrive at a car accident settlement. If this is the case, auto accident attorneys specialize in this field and can give you proper legal advice and also defend you in court if it gets taken that far. While it’s important to hire an attorney as soon as possible, take some tim to research these lawyers, their rates, and reviews of their work.