What should drivers do after auto accidents in the District of Columbia?

Getting into a car crash may be a stressful experience, which is why knowing what to do ahead of time may help people protect themselves.

Many people in Washington, D.C. and elsewhere believe that if they obey the traffic laws themselves, they will not get into an auto accident. However, motor vehicle collisions may occur at any time and involve anyone on the road. In fact, there were 24,265 crashes reported in 2015 alone, according to the District of Columbia Department of Transportation. Since getting into a wreck may be a chaotic and upsetting experience, it may help people to know ahead of time what to do after a crash.

Stop

The first thing drivers should do following a car collision is stop. If they are able, they may move their vehicles out of traffic. This may help them avoid being struck again themselves or causing another crash to occur. It is important, however, that they stay as close to the scene as possible. Leaving could be viewed as a criminal offense.

Render assistance

Sometimes motor vehicle accidents result in minor or no injuries. In other cases, though, people may suffer serious injuries or death. After moving their vehicles to safety, drivers should check themselves, their passengers and the occupants of the other vehicles involved for injuries. Required to provide aid to anyone who needs it, people should immediately call for emergency medical assistance if anyone has suffered harm that necessitates treatment.

Exchange contact details

Provided they are able, there is information drivers are required to share with one another after a crash. This includes their names, addresses, insurance information and vehicle registration details. In addition to exchanging this information with each other, drivers should also collect the contact details for anyone who witnessed the wreck. This may be useful for filing their insurance claims, as well as in the event legal action becomes necessary.

Record the scene

If law enforcement officers come to the scene, it is a good idea for people to get a copy of the auto accident report. However, they should also document the scene themselves. This includes photographing the vehicles involved, any damage that occurred, the area where the crash happened and any visible injuries that were suffered. Drivers may also find it helpful to write down the details of what happened while the event is still fresh in their minds.

Seek legal guidance

As a result of motor vehicle collisions in the District, people may suffer serious injuries that require significant medical treatment. This may lead to medical expenses they were not expecting, as well as lost income if they must take time off work to recover. In some cases, the at-fault drivers may be held liable for such losses. Therefore, those who have been injured in auto accidents may find it helpful to consult with an attorney to discuss their options for pursuing financial compensation.