When Disaster Strikes: What to Do When You are in a Car Accident on Vacation

Nobody likes to think about the worst-case scenario. You’re planning your first vacation in around two years, now that it’s safer to go out, and you don’t really want to be thinking about the myriad of things that can go wrong. That’s completely understandable, as there’s such a variety of things that can swoop in with no warning and ruin your trip for no discernible reason that attempting to plan for them all isn’t feasible and borders on insanity. 

When Disaster Strikes: What to Do When You are in a Car Accident on Vacation
[image: pexels by dominika kwiatkowska]

However, when you’re planning your vacation and you are taking time to make sure that you’ve thought of everything else needed before your family hits the road, it might do you some good to come up with plans in case you get into some of the more likely disastrous situations, like a car accident. No matter where you go in the U.S., your odds of getting into a car accident stay roughly the same, as safe driving is a rarity in all fifty states: your car could get rear-ended by a drunk driver that comes out of nowhere, spun off the road by a road-rager, or even someone bumping into your back end in the middle of bumper-to-bumper traffic. 

What’s worse, driving defensively and adopting DMV best practices does not eliminate the possibility of getting into an accident like this: regardless of how safely you drive, you can’t account for every other driver on the road, and you may still find yourself in a dangerous situation.

As such, it’s key that before you get into these types of situations, you have a plan to help you safely navigate them. When you’re actually in the moment, adrenaline and shock may interfere with your ability to recoup the damages of your accident and make sure that you’re safe in the immediate aftermath. Having a plan before you’re in that situation will increase your chances of doing everything you need to do to facilitate a quick settlement with the responsible driver, an expedited payout from your insurance, and even a win in court if it comes to that. 

So what should you do in the immediate aftermath of an accident?

Pull Over to a Safe Location

In the immediate aftermath of an accident, whether the road you’re on is busier or less traveled, you’ll want to pull your car over to the nearest open area, parking lot, or shoulder and get yourself out of the way of oncoming traffic. While it is important to make sure the responsible party follows you, it’s more important to make sure you are safe, and that your accident doesn’t result in a multi-car pileup because you haven’t gotten your vehicle out of harm’s way. Once you’re in a safe location, proceed to the next step.

Document, Document, Document

You probably already know that you should get the other driver’s insurance information, as that’s a pretty standard teaching in most driver’s ed programs. What they may not have told you is that you’ll also want to take pictures of every ounce of damage done to yourself, the other driver, and both vehicles. Photo evidence is an absolute necessity for you to get the settlement you deserve, as it documents the crash in the immediate aftermath: photos of all the damage done can be used to determine liability, help insurance companies reach the appropriate amount to pay out, and even help you bolster your claims in court if it comes to that.

Also, be sure to call the police and have the officer fill out an accident report. While reporting the accident officially may make your premiums go up, accident reports are an invaluable source of information on the crash from an authoritative source. 

No Settlement? No Problem

After the dust has settled, you may find that your insurance company (or the company of the liable driver) hasn’t paid you the settlement you need to cover your medical bills and damage to your vehicle. You may also find that you aren’t able to work something out with the liable driver to cover your damages. In those situations, you’ll want to be prepared to take the issue to the next level: a lawsuit. 

A car accident lawyer can help you recoup your losses, getting you the number you need to pay off your bills and compensate you for pain and suffering. The above steps will build the best possible case for yourself: now, all you need is someone to help you navigate the vagaries of law in your favor, winning you the settlement you deserve. 

Auto accidents can be frightening, especially in unfamiliar territory: you’ll want to know, before you hit the road and run the risk of getting into one, what your strategy will be to minimize the damage and maximize your settlement. Don’t be afraid to take the precautions necessary to give yourself the best possible chance; while you may hope you never need to use the information above, it’s always better to be safe than sorry. 

No comments:

Post a Comment

Please Leave a Comment to show some Love ~ Thanks