What you need to do if your family have a car accident
Car accidents are, unfortunately, part and parcel of life, and those who have never been involved in an accident before should take some time to learn what to do in case such an unfortunate incident occurs. Parents have the added burden of worrying about their children if they are in the vehicle, so there are a series of important steps to take to make sure they are protected in the best way possible.
Check for injuries
The first thing to do after an accident is to make sure everyone in the vehicle is unhurt. If there are injuries, especially ones that appear severe, call for medical help immediately. Children may be traumatised by the impact, so as far as is possible make sure they are comforted and reassured.
Passengers, especially children, should be taken out of the vehicle as soon as possible and taken to a place of safety. Standing or sitting on the hard shoulder of a motorway or a busy road is not safe, and children should be removed from the roadside. They should not be left in the vehicle, unless their injuries make it unwise to try to move them.
Some injuries may take time to emerge, and this is especially the case with whiplash, where the neck is damaged by a rapid forward and backwards or side-to-side movement as a result of impact.
For all but the most minor accidents the police should be informed as soon as possible. Before the police or other emergency services arrive, and if it can be done, exchange details with the driver of the other vehicle. This includes name and address, phone number and name of insurance company, but it is also a good idea to note down the make and model of vehicle and its registration plate number. No fault should be admitted at this stage, or attributed to the other driver, even though they may have been to blame. This will be settled later, where necessary through a legal process.
If there are witnesses, ask them for their contact details, as their evidence may prove crucial at a later stage in the process. Make regular checks on the children, especially if there is only one adult in the vehicle.
Contact the insurers
The insurance company should be contacted as soon as possible. This is a condition of all insurance policies, and it allows the company to begin the business of retrieving the damaged vehicle and starting the process that may lead to compensation. Whiplash compensation is one of the most common forms of damages, and the insurance company will deal with that on behalf of the driver and passengers.
Young children should always sit in secure car seats, and be properly strapped in. After a collision it is essential that these removable seats are not used again, as the impact will have weakened their structure. Ensuring the safety of the children following a car accident is most important, and the insurance company will compensate for replacement seats, as well as for damage to the vehicle.
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