How to Handle an Auto Accident
Although there is a lot of information available online that helps drivers navigate the complicated process of maximizing their chances of getting compensation after accidents, many drivers are still in the dark about what to do while they’re still at the accident scene.
At Matt Hardin Law, our Smyrna auto accident lawyers want car accident victims to be as informed as possible about the steps they should take after car accidents to better protect their health and their chances of receiving compensation.
Steps to Take Immediately after an Accident
Even if you have already left the scene of your car accident, it’s still important to understand what you should and shouldn’t do in the future in the event of other car accidents involving yourself or your loved ones.
As soon as an accident occurs, you should stay calm and do your best to follow these steps:
Move your vehicle away from oncoming traffic.
If your vehicle is still running after your accident and you are still in the middle of traffic, try to move it to the shoulder of the road and away from approaching vehicles. Tennessee state law protects drivers who move their vehicles after accidents, as staying in traffic can be dangerous. If your engine won’t start after the accident, your fuel pump shut-off switch may have engaged. Check your vehicle’s manual to find out to reset this switch.
Although moving your vehicle out of harm’s way is recommended, there is one situation where you should stay put. If anyone in the accident suffered serious injuries, it’s best to stay where you are, as moving your vehicle can cause their injuries to get worse.
Turn your vehicle off.
As soon as you move your vehicle to a safe spot, turn it off. Leaving your engine running after a serious accident can cause damage and even pose a serious fire risk, as fuel leaks can ignite due to excessive heat and sparks caused by a damaged and malfunctioning engine. Make sure the drivers of any other vehicles that were involved in the accident turn off their vehicles as well.
Stay in your car unless you can get far away from the accident scene.
The safest place to be after an accident is inside your vehicle—especially if the accident occurred in an area with heavy traffic. However, if you have enough room to get out and stand a considerable distance away from the roadway—or if you believe your vehicle is in danger of catching fire—you should get out and stand as far away from it and your vehicle as possible.
Call 911 and give the dispatcher as much information as possible.
The more information you give the 911 dispatcher about your accident, the faster EMS crews will be able to respond to it. Tell the dispatcher your name, the type of vehicle you drive, where the accident occurred, including the road name and nearby landmarks or mile markers, and the severity of any injuries caused by the accident. You may need to stay on the line with the dispatcher to provide more information as the EMS crews approach the scene, especially if the conditions of the accident change over time.
Get information from the other driver and any witnesses.
Depending on the severity of your injuries, you or your passengers may need to be transported to the hospital as soon as EMS crews arrive. If you’re able to do so, try to get contact information from the other driver and any witnesses of the accident before you leave the accident scene. Their statements about what happened can serve as valuable evidence for your claim.
After you’ve left the scene of the accident and received medical treatment, your next step is to get experienced legal representation on your side. The Smyrna car accident lawyers at Matt Hardin Law know Tennessee car accident laws, and we’ve helped countless auto accident victims get compensation for their medical bills, lost wages, and more.
Don’t wait to get the help you need for your accident-related expenses. Contact us today by dialing (615) 200-1111 or filling out a free online form. It’s our goal to help you get your life back to normal as quickly as possible after your accident.