The proper reaction to a chain reaction crash

Earlier this month we discussed some of the risks that wet roads pose to Louisiana motorists. Similarly, winter weather conditions across the country, including ice and fog, have contributed to many serious motor vehicle accidents.

When conditions are slick and visibility is low, there is an unusually high risk of multi-car pileups, or “chain reaction” crashes. These collisions may start with just one vehicle veering out of its lane but they can end in dozens of injuries or worse.

If you find yourself involved in such an accident, remember a few key steps to help ensure your own safety, the well-being of those around you, and your financial interests.

First, stay at the scene of the accident. You may be in a rush to get home or feel confident that the crash was not your fault but leaving an accident scene may result in criminal charges. Plus you’ll want to stay in order to gather some information.

Take a look around and try to ensure that everyone is safe. If someone appears to be injured, do not move them unless absolutely necessary – for example, if they are lying in the road or somewhere where they might sustain further injury. If you must move someone, do so carefully.

Once everyone is taken care of, snap some photos of the scene, focusing on the damage to your vehicle and anything else you feel may be helpful for police or your insurance agent. If your photograph makes it into a police report it may be used as evidence in any legal claims. Similarly, it may help your insurance company assess the damage and compensate you properly.

If you are involved in an accident you may also want to contact a personal injury attorney, particularly if you or one of your passengers is injured. The right lawyer can help you pursue any appropriate legal claims and allow you to focus on recovery.

Source: Injured, “What to Do After a Chain Reaction Crash,” Maryam Ansari, Jan. 23, 2013

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