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What to do immediately after  a car accident or hit-and-run | BlackboxMyCar

What to do immediately after a car accident or hit-and-run | BlackboxMyCar

Did you know that the statistics between car accidents in the United States and Canada are incredibly different? In 2018, 12 million drivers in the United States were involved in vehicle crashes. The year prior, in Canada, the Canadian Transportation Safety Board indicated that only 160,000 car accidents occur each year. What makes these two border-sharing countries so different? More Canadians use mass transit and have stricter laws. This may account for the large difference in the number of accidents each year between the two countries.

Most drivers are likely to be involved in a car accident at least once in their lives - accidents happen - you can be the safest driver around, but that doesn't save you from the driver who decided to run a red light. In these stressful situations, many new and young drivers don't have the confidence or the know-how to deal with first responders, injuries, other drivers and insurance companies.

There are several different types of accidents , some you might have already experienced, others - let's hope you never have to deal with in your lifetime. Either way, here's what you need to do if you ever encounter these scenarios as a driver.

What to do after a collision (being involved or witnessing)

Nobody expects that they will be in an accident or witness one when they get in their car in the morning. That is why being involved in one is something most people are not prepared for.

What to do after a collision or a car accident?

Whether you are personally involved in or only witnessed a car accident, there are steps that you should follow directly afterward. First and foremost, you need to check yourself for injuries before checking on anyone else. Adrenaline can be a funny thing, making us think we are okay when we are not. Once you know if you are injured or not, call 911 or have someone else make the call, then proceed to check on others in or around your vehicle.

Whether you are personally involved in or only witnessed a car accident, there are steps that you should follow directly afterward. First and foremost, you need to check yourself for injuries before checking on anyone else. Adrenaline can be a funny thing, making us think we are okay when we are not. Once you know if you are injured or not, call 911 or have someone else make the call, then proceed to check on others in or around your vehicle.

You will want the police to make a formal report about the accident. In some states, this is a requirement, and the insurance company will likely ask for it when you file a claim. You need to sit and wait for the emergency services and police to arrive. During this time, if there are no major injuries, you can begin to exchange personal information.

  • Full name and contact information
  • Insurance company and policy number
  • Driver’s license and license plate number
  • Make, model, and type of car
  • Location of the accident

Take photos of the accident scene and let the police determine fault in the accident. No one should blame the other or admit fault as it can be admissible in court. Make sure to get the names, badge numbers, and any other identifiable information for the police officers on the scene. Gather witness information as well. Once the report has been completed, begin talking to the insurance companies to file claims.

And, this is important - don’t make any side deals with other drivers to accept or pay cash for the accident instead of filing a police report or insurance claim. Making an handshake deal, no matter how much cash was offered, could put you in more trouble down the line.

What do I do if I have captured footage of the incident?

Capturing an accident that you are not a part of on your dash cam can be as scary as being involved in an accident.

  • If you are still there on the scene when the police come, you will want to offer them the footage you have captured on your dash cam.
  • If you have already left the scene, then submit your footage to your local police. Give them as much information as you can, including the date, time and location of the accident, as well as your name and contact information - so they can get ahold of you if they need to.

The footage you have caught may be able to help clarify any of the questions they have about what transpired during the accident. Video footage can be pretty irrefutable when all the facts are laid out.

What to do after a hit-and-run

In traffic law, hit-and-run is the act of someone who knowingly causes an accident and leaves the scene without providing any information or assistance to the other vehicle or person involved. In most jurisdictions, a hit-and-run is a misdemeanor offense unless someone is injured. If there is injury and the at-fault driver runs, it is considered a felony.

If you find yourself to be the victim in a hit-and-run accident, it is important to talk to possible witnesses and notify the police to file a report.

Dos and don'ts in a hit-and-run

  • Don’t follow the driver who flees the scene. The act of leaving could put you in a compromising position by missing witness statements, and the police may question who was at fault.
  • Do get as much information as you can about the driver and their vehicle, such as:
    • License plate number
    • The vehicle make, model, and color
    • The damage the accident caused to the other car
    • The direction they were heading when they left the scene
    • Photos of the damage
    • The location, date, time, and potential cause of the hit-and-run
  • Don’t wait to call the police or insurance company. An official police and accident report can help locate the driver and is useful when filing your claim with insurance.
  • Do ask the witnesses in the area if they can supply additional information about the accident. The statements of witnesses can be extremely helpful if you were not near your vehicle at the time of the incident.
  • Do check your dash cam footage, if you have one, and see if you have captured it in video.

What to do after your car has been vandalized

Vehicle vandalism occurs when someone intentionally causes damage to the vehicle of another. Acts of vandalism may include but are not limited to keying, breaking windows, or slashing tires. Vandalism is not the same as an act of nature.

What to do when vandalism occurs

When vandalism occurs, there are steps you need to do to ensure that your insurance company will pay for it. You will need to file a police report about the incident. If you feel that it is a form of retaliation or harassment, you should provide proof to the police along with potential suspects. Witnesses, if there are any, should have contact information submitted to the police.

Until an insurance agent has come to evaluate your vehicle, do not attempt to clean up or fix anything. If your window(s) have been broken or damaged, you will need to take precautions to ensure to keep the interior of the car dry. Though, if you are in a public area, clean up the broken glass around your car. Save the receipts of any materials you may purchase to keep your vehicle secure. You may be able to get reimbursed for these.

If the police do not document the damage, make sure you take pictures and document any damages. Take an inventory of things that were damaged or stolen during the vandalism. Also, check your dash cam footage to see if the incident or the culprit was captured on camera. You will also need to send your footage to the police.

What can I do to make the process after a car accident easier?

An accident often translates to chaos. Even the smallest of fender benders can be overly stressful in the heat of the moment. One piece of advice that any car accident lawyer across the country will tell you – don’t post about it on social media! You can also protect yourself by investing in a dash cam for your car. This way, you are protected every time you drive - instead of remembering to take your phone out to take pictures, your dash cam would already have captured it on video.

Why can't I share accident information or dash cam footage on social media?

Before social media became the platform that we told our entire life story every day, this wasn’t particularly an issue. Now, social media posts are considered to be admissible in a court of law. So if you slander the other party on social media or make comments that can damage your legal case, you might as well forget winning, even if you’re not the one who caused the accident.

If you absolutely need to share the accident footage on Facebook, Instagram or YouTube, we strongly recommend you do so after the accident case has been settled and you've gotten the green-light from the police and/or your insurance company. And even so, you might want to take the time to blur out any sensitive information on the footage, including the other driver's license plate, face, audio that can identify the identity of any parties involved, etc.

A dash cam can be lifesaving in the event of an accident

Whether you cover thousands of miles or a few city blocks in your car, investing in a dash cam can help mitigate confusion in the event of an accident. There are four proven benefits of adding a dash cam to your vehicle.

  • The video will help establish the context of the accident. In some accidents, it can be hard to determine who was at fault. Still, with the dash cam evidence, you will see how an accident transpired in most circumstances.

  • Video evidence is often found irrefutable. When you can show exactly what happened, it can clear up any conflicting testimony or single out a lying party in an accident.

  • Because these recordings are admissible in court, most insurance companies will also use them as evidence. This evidence is often able to help speed up the refund process for those involved in an accident.

  • Dash cams have the ability to help protect drivers and their cars, not just in accidents but in hit-and-runs or when vandalism occurs. When someone is innocent, having the footage to prove it can make being compensated a whole lot easier.

BlackboxMyCar keeps new and seasoned drivers safe and prepared

When faced with a car accident, many drivers, new or seasoned, aren't able to articulate clearly why the other driver is actually at fault. A reliable dash cam will provide real-time proof in the event of an accident, even if the actual impact is not captured by the dash cam - it can show if and exactly where the vehicle was stopped and/or how fast and the direction it was travelling, etc. It's always better to have a dash cam and to stay on the safe side than to have no video evidence at all.

BlackboxMyCar has the dash cams needed to help all drivers stay safe while on the roadways. Shopping on a budget? Check out our under $150 selection! There you will find the premium, reliable brands like Thinkware, BlackVue, VIOFO, Crosstour, BlackSys and much more. Looking for something simple, from functionality to setup? May we suggest our new BlackboxMyCar New Driver Bundle - featuring the Thinkware FA200 Dual-Channel but paired with the IROAD OBD-II Power Cable for a true plug-and-play hardwire solution for parking mode recording.

Maybe you aren’t sure which type you need, talk to any of our reps - we are all trained to provide the best dash cam advice - and be sure to ask about the latest promotions and discount offers!

No matter what you choose, you can find it at BlackboxMyCar.

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