How to deal with a car accident during COVID-19
According to experts, traffic in the United States has been down 38 percent during the COVID-19 pandemic, which means that car accidents have also been reduced thanks to fewer cars on the road (Researchers at AutoInsuranceEZ.com report that fatal crashes in the Seattle area are down 100 percent).
Despite quarantines and sheltering in place, there are essential workers headed to job sites, so there are still cars on the road, making anxiety-inducing crashes a real possibility. While you may think that COVID-19 has brought enough anxiety into your world, knowing what to do after a crash before one occurs is an important way to ease stress in the event that one should occur.
If you should find yourself in an accident with another vehicle, following guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as best as you can is the first step.
Following social distancing or donning a mask before exiting your vehicle are both important elements during the pandemic, even though they can be tricky to remember in the midst of a traumatic event.
Staying calm can help you process the accident and prevent the potential spread of coronavirus in the aftermath of an accident.
Here’s what to do:
- Contact 911 to ensure the safety of everyone involved. There will also be police on hand to communicate safely with the other driver if you don’t feel comfortable doing so yourself or the other driver fails to take social distancing or other safety measures seriously.
- Practice social distancing (that’s six feet away from the other driver) and wear a mask to collect information, including the driver’s name, insurance information, plate number, license number and contact information. For safety, collect information to input into your cell phone rather than accepting a piece of paper, which according to experts, could carry the coronavirus for four or five days after handling.
- Take photographs of the scene. Photos are important pieces of evidence, and along with a police report can tell a complete story of an accident scene.
- Seek medical attention. We understand that visiting a medical facility can be nerve-wracking during the COVID-19 pandemic, and if your injuries aren’t serious, you might be able to set up an appointment by videoconference to reduce anxiety levels. Still, if you are experiencing any kind of pain, medical treatment is necessary. Because of rising wait times at emergency rooms, however, you might be better off visiting an urgent care facility to seek treatment.
- Contact your insurance company. It’s important to report an accident as soon as possible to begin the claims process, if the accident was your fault. If it was not your fault, the at-fault driver’s insurance company will contact you.
- Consider calling an attorney. If you expect to have medical bills, physical therapy, or extensive car repairs, an attorney can help ensure that the other driver’s insurance company doesn’t try to offer you less than you need to cover your expenses, including lost wages and pain and suffering if your injuries are severe.
Preparation is key
In order to ensure your safety in the event of a car accident, keep masks, gloves, and hand sanitizer in your vehicle at all times so you won’t find yourself at risk if you do have an accident.
A card with your personal information on it should also be kept in your car in case you are knocked unconscious in a crash and are unable to share such information.