Car crashes are scary and confusing experiences. Even if you have been involved in a car crash before, it is difficult to know what to do.
All the uncertainty could cause some victims to put themselves in danger, as there can be many hazardous conditions at the scene.
Schmidt Kramer’s licensed Harrisburg vehicle accident lawyers discuss these hazards and how to keep yourself safe while waiting for first responders to arrive. If you suffered an injury in an auto accident, we may be able to help you recover compensation.
Millions Recovered. Free Legal Consultation. Call us: (717) 510-1770.
What Hazards Might You Find at an Accident Scene?
If you are involved in a car crash, watch out for the hazards discussed below. Knowing about these hazards beforehand could help you and the others involved in the crash to stay safe.
One of the most important things to do after a collision is to move your vehicle out of traffic, when it is possible. You do not want to leave your car in a position where it could get hit by a passing car. Some of the drivers who approach and pass your vehicle may be speeding or engaging in distracted driving.
Even if you cannot move your car, it may be best to remain in your car until help arrives. If you get out of your car, you risk getting clipped by a passing car. Even though it is courteous and reduces the risk of a crash, many drivers are not going to change lanes to leave space between their vehicles and yours.
If you can get out of your car, always watch for passing traffic. Avoid walking across one or more lanes of traffic.
You should also make sure to turn on your hazard lights to help alert passing cars that your vehicle is stopped.
Violence or Aggressive Behavior From the Other Driver
Even if the other driver caused the crash, he or she might get mad at you and act like you are to blame. He or she might scream or yell or otherwise be aggressive. Sometimes these drivers get out of their vehicles, walk over to victims’ windows and scream at them. They may even threaten physical violence or commit battery.
In these situations, it is best to not look at the aggressive driver and avoid engaging with them. Call the police and wait for them to arrive. If you engage with the aggressive driver, it might enrage this person further. This could increase the risk of the driver trying to physically harm you.
Sometimes a car accident shatters windows or front or rear windshields. This means there could be broken glass on the road. There could also be jagged edges on windows or windshields from where pieces of glass broke off.
If there is a lot of shattered glass on the ground around your vehicle, it may be best to wait inside your vehicle for first responders to arrive. If you touch broken glass, you could cut your skin and you may need stitches to stop the bleeding. If you encounter a jagged edge from a broken window, it could result in a laceration that could put you at risk for severe bleeding.
Debris From the Collision
Besides broken glass, car crashes can also create other debris. For example, parts of one or both vehicles could come off, such as front or rear bumpers or sideview mirrors. It is important to keep your distance from any of this debris, as you do not want to trip over something or cut yourself. If you cut yourself on a piece of metal, you risk an infection.
Explosions or Fires
After moving your car out of harm’s way, be sure to shut off the engine. It is possible that the force of impact ruptured the fuel tank, and it only takes small spark to start a fire. By shutting off your engine, you help to reduce the risk of something like this happening.
However, if you smell gasoline after the crash, you should immediately get out of your car and get away from it. If your car catches fire, make sure to keep your distance, as there could be an explosion.
If there is a fire or explosion you could suffer severe burn injuries that may require skin grafts.
Another danger from a fire or explosion is the inhalation of toxic fumes. If you smell something funny after the crash, you should get out of your car and move away. There is no telling what you could be breathing in and what the long-term effects of inhalation might be.
Blood or Bodily Fluids Released During the Collision
If you attend to others who are injured, be careful to avoid contact with others’ blood or bodily fluids. Make sure not to touch another’s blood with your bare hands.
Low Visibility Conditions
If you are involved in a crash at nighttime, especially in an area with few or no streetlights, it is going to be difficult to clearly see your surroundings. This can make it incredibly dangerous to get out of your vehicle because approaching drivers might have a hard time seeing you.
If you must get out of your vehicle, use the flashlight on your phone to help you see. You want to avoid broken glass, jagged pieces of debris, oil spills or other hazards.
Tips on Staying Safe at the Scene of the Crash
One of the first things you should do is call 9-1-1 so they can send help to your location. Tell the dispatcher where you are to the best of your ability. For instance, you can tell the dispatcher the intersection or mile marker if you are on an interstate. You may also be able to send a GPS notification to the dispatcher.
Tell the dispatcher what you remember about what happened, the number of vehicles involved and if anyone is injured. You should also provide your phone number in case the call gets dropped for some reason.
The dispatcher may give you instructions on what to do. For example, the dispatcher is likely to tell you not to move injured victims unless they are in immediate danger, such as from a fire.
If you have a first-aid kit, you may be able to help injured victims, such as by applying pressure to a wound.
There is value in collecting evidence in the moments after the crash, such as taking pictures of both vehicles and other aspects of the accident scene.
However, safety should be your priority. You may have already suffered an injury and you do not want to suffer another. You should only try to collect evidence if it is safe to do so, for you and for others in your vehicle.
It is also important to note your attorney can collect evidence for you. If you contact an attorney and he or she validates your claim, the attorney could get to the scene not long after the crash. At Schmidt Kramer, we are committed to managing every step of the legal process so you can focus on your medical treatment.
Schmidt Kramer Has Recovered Millions for Crash Victims. Contact Us.
After an injury car crash, one of the most important steps you can take is to call an experienced lawyer to discuss potential legal options. You will need compensation for your damages, but the insurance company will likely try to deny or underpay your claim.
We take injury cases on contingency, which means there are no upfront costs for you to pay. We only get paid if we win compensation through a settlement or courtroom decision.
Have legal questions? We are here to help. Call (717) 510-1770.