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How to handle a post-accident situation

How to handle a post-accident situation

Snapshot: Whether to leave your car on the spot, whether to call the police or whether to negotiate, here's what all you can do if you are involved in an accident.

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There's no denying the fact that if you drive a car, avoiding an accident is as difficult as ignoring a free pizza. Meaning, at some point in life, you are bound to crash your car, and you can't avoid it, no matter how good a driver you are. Our intentions are not to scare you, but that's what statistics speak. Especially in a country like India, where people love to drive bumper to bumper, a small mistake can cause an accident.

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An accident could be a minor scuffle, leaving few bruises on your car or a major incident causing damage to your car as well as to the car which is involved in the accident with you. So what should you do in a situation like this? Should you call the police, or should you fight the other person to give you money for the damage caused?

We tell you few steps how to tackle a situation like this -

Get your car out of the Harm's Way

There is no probable place for a car accident to occur, but a high speed highway is definitely on the top. God forbid, if you are involved in an incident on the highway, or some other road with moving traffic, your first action should be to move out of the harm's way. Meaning, if your car is operational, gently coast it to the side of the road, in some empty space. Next up, place the emergency sign near the car, put on the hazard lights or put some attention grabbing thing at a distance from the car.

If by any chance, your car is not operational, turn on the hazard lights, place the emergency reflectors or some attention grabbing material at some distance from the car and leave the spot.

Check for wounds and bruises

Next up, check for any wounds to yourself, passengers, pedestrians or anyone involved in the accident, including the ones in the other car. For minor bruises, use first aid kit and later visit the doctor. For major wounds, call an ambulance as soon as possible or ask someone to drop you to the hospital because an ambulance can take some time to arrive. Washing your wound with water is a good idea to clean it and later cover it with a clean cloth.

Analyze the damage to the car

Your next step should be to analyze the damage to the car. Check for dents, broken windows and alloys/rims. If the accident is major, the damage can be far more than what is visible to the eyes. If there's a fire in the car, go as far as possible to avoid a blast due to fire in the fuel tank.

Document the crash

Whether you need the photographs as a proof to claim the insurance or when settling the police case, documentation is crucial. Thankfully, smart phones and other recording devices have made it simpler. Always equip your car with a Dash-cam that can record the whole incident before the accident so that no false claims or case are registered. Take pictures of the scene, of the car and yourself for the damage. If there is any witness, it will be helpful to get a testimony of them on video for any further inquiry. Exchange contacts with the witness and with others who were involved in the accident. Timely documentation is the key to avoid trouble and helps in authentication too.

Call the police

While this may seem a completely unnecessary step to many, it is essential to know that police can come with a lot of help. They can solve any fight or brawl between various stakeholders involved in an accident. It can also mobilize sources like ambulance and garages as soon as possible. In case of a legal case, your first notification to the police can give you an upper hand. A good rule of thumb, if you're unsure what to do, call authorities.

Decide Whether or Not to File a Claim

Last but not the least is the step to file a claim with the insurance companies. An insurance claim takes a lot of things into consideration, like the type of crash that occurred, the amount of damage done, and one's insurance coverage. Then there's a comprehensive insurance, third party cover extra. If you have damaged the other person's car extensively, its better to get an insurance rather than paying them yourself. 

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