Motor vehicle accidents can happen to anyone at any time. They are some of the scariest things people are involved in and can have life-long repercussions. It is important to know how to define a motor vehicle accident and what happens once a motor vehicle accident occurs so you can be prepared and knowledgeable for any circumstance.
What Is a Motor Vehicle Accident?
A motor vehicle accident can be defined as any accident involving one or more vehicles. Motor vehicle accidents do not need to be between two vehicles. They can also extend to unmoving objects such as fences, ditches, trees, water, traffic cones, gates, buildings, and more. Additionally, motor vehicle accidents can involve pedestrians, whether they be walking with their bikes or stationary. Hitting an animal can also be considered a motor vehicle accident.
The types of motor vehicle accidents that can occur can be grouped as follows:
- Collision with another moving vehicle. These accidents tend to be what you automatically think of when you think of a motor vehicle accident. These types of accidents occur when one vehicle collides with another. They are the most common motor vehicle accidents in the USA.
- Collision with a parked vehicle. This is when a vehicle collides with another vehicle that is not moving. It often occurs in parking lots, with parked cars on the road, or in driveways.
- Collision with a pedestrian. This is an accident where a moving vehicle hits a pedestrian. It can occur with people who are walking, standing, sitting, or trying to cross the street.
- Collision with an unmoving object. Fixed objects can be defined as any unmoving objects a driver can hit while driving. Sometimes this can mean a driver hits a fence, tree, or even a mailbox.
- Collision with a bicyclist. This is an incident involving a motor vehicle colliding with an individual on a bike.
What is the first thing that should be done when accidents happen?
Although motor vehicle accidents are traumatic and can create a lot of stress on your body and mind, the most important thing you can do if you have been involved in a motor vehicle accident is to remain calm.
The first thing that you want to do once you are involved in a motor vehicle accident is to stop the car. This is the most important step, even if no one in your vehicle is injured. By stopping your car, you are complying with the law and allowing authorities to take the situation into their hands. If you do not stop, the authorities will see this as negligence, and you will be more likely to be accused of causing the accident.
If your car is still operable, ensure that you pull your car into a safe area that will avoid other potential accidents from occurring. If your car is non-operable, exit your vehicle if you are able, help all passengers exit the vehicle if needed, and wait for authorities in a safe location away from traffic.
What to Do After Your Car Is Stopped
After stopping your car, comply with additional steps to ensure that everyone at the scene of the accident is safe and that the situation is being handled accordingly.
- Ensure the safety of others. After you have assessed your own safety, check on your passengers and all other persons who were a part of the accident. If any of your passengers are suffering from severe injuries, seek medical attention right away.
- Call 911. After you have ensured the safety of yourself and your passengers, immediately call 911. If anyone is severely injured, make sure to report this to authorities. Try to be as detailed as possible with your call, including a full account of any symptoms you or your passengers may be experiencing. This information will be recorded and can help you with your case.
- Document the evidence. While on the scene of the accident, take pictures of the damages and gather details of the other vehicles involved, such as license plate numbers, color and make of vehicles, insurance information of all other vehicles, and physical descriptions of the other people at the scene. The more details that you have regarding the accident, the better your case will go. Additionally, if you notice there are witnesses on the scene, ask for their names and numbers because they might be able to help in your case later on.
- Provide the proper documentation to the police. When the police arrive at the scene, give them an honest account of what has happened along with all the proper documentation they need to record the case. This includes registration of your vehicle, valid insurance, and a driver’s license.
- Stay at the scene. You should remain at the scene until the authorities dismiss you. Leaving before being dismissed could be used against you in court and be seen as a sign of negligence.
- Seek medical attention. Even if you are not notably injured, it is wise to seek medical attention after being involved in a motor vehicle accident. Your medical records can also be used to enhance your case.
- Report the accident to your insurance company. Shortly after the accident, report all the details you have collected to your insurance company. Be completely honest about every detail you can remember from the scene. Lying can hinder your case and worsen your chances of getting your damages paid for.
If You’ve Been Involved in a Motor Vehicle Accident, Trust in Us
Whether you have been a victim of a previous motor vehicle accident or need more information about what happens after a motor vehicle accident occurs, staying informed and knowledgeable during scary situations such as motor vehicle accidents is essential, so mistakes can be avoided and that you get the representation and fair treatment that you deserve.
The Law Firm of Luis P. Guerra, L.L.C. is here to serve and support you if you have been involved in a motor vehicle accident. Our team is passionate about our work and will honestly update you on all details related to your case so that you do not feel out of the loop. Contact us today for more information.