No one expects something to go wrong when getting behind the wheel, but experiencing an accident isn’t exactly uncommon. A lot can go wrong when you put your keys in the ignition and pull out of the driveway.
Instead of assuming that everything will always go as planned when you hit the road, and panicking when something goes wrong, it helps to be prepared.
For example, what should you do if you hit something with your car? Whether you hit a pothole or, heaven forbid, a person, here’s exactly what you should do in the minutes, hours, and days after the accident.
No matter what it is you think you hit, you should always stop.
It’s obvious that you shouldn’t run after hitting a person with a vehicle, especially if you have been drinking and driving, but there are plenty of other things you can hit that require you to make a quick stop.
A few examples include:
- Road hazards, like potholes
- Road debris, like glass or nails
- Stationary objects, like poles and lampposts
- Animals, like a dog or a deer
- Other vehicles
- Pedestrians and cyclists
It’s always better to be safe than sorry. Not only is it better for your vehicle, and absolutely necessary if you hit a person, but stopping also gives you a minute to calm your nerves before getting back on the road.
Assess the Damage
Making a stop means you have the opportunity to assess the damage to your vehicle, as well as the damage to the thing you hit. It also gives you the opportunity to get the proper documentation for any insurance claims that may need to be filed.
Assessing the damage is a vital step if you hit another vehicle, as it will determine whether or not your information needs to be exchanged. To ensure everything goes smoothly, you should always contact the authorities to oversee the process. They can make sure tempers remain cool after an accident.
Assessing the damage also means assessing the damage done to people in the accident to determine if emergency services should be contacted.
Exchange Information, If Needed
If you bump into another vehicle pulling out of a parking space, both parties may decide there’s no need to exchange information. However, if there’s more extensive damage, it’s important to exchange information.
It is extremely important to make sure your auto insurance is always up-to-date. Comprehensive insurance will provide you with the most protection, but the law requires that you at least have basic insurance. That way, if there is an accident, you are able to hand over your information without a fine. Not to mention, your insurance can help make sure you get the repairs you need!
Schedule an Appointment with a Mechanic
Don’t see any damage, but it sure sounded like you hit something big? Even if you don’t see or hear any damage after you pull away, it’s still a good idea to schedule an appointment with an auto repair shop.
Let the mechanic know that you’ve been in an accident, let them know what you hit, and where the impact occurred. They can look over your car to determine if there are any repairs that need to be made.
Just make sure you choose your mechanic wisely. Safely transporting your vehicle to a trusted car repair professional, even if it means utilizing a tow truck, is better than popping into an auto repair shop you are unfamiliar with.
Hire an Attorney
You may have to consider hiring an attorney, depending on the type of accident and the extent of the injuries involved. A few reasons to consider hiring an attorney include:
- There is a very limited time to sue, should you decide to do so
- You are unsure how the law in your area will affect you
- You want to understand all of the potential damages you may be entitled to
- You need help proving who is liable for the accident
If you were injured in the accident, or you’re worried about what it might mean for your future, it never hurts to ask for help from an attorney. Many provide free consultations, providing you with the ability to determine if you will need their help or not.
If you hit something with your car, don’t panic! Understand exactly what you should do, no matter what you hit, and you can remain calm. There isn’t any roadside problem you can’t solve, as long as you know exactly what to do!