22 Car Accident Help Suggestions: Before, During and After

No one wakes up wondering if today is the day their life will be turned upside down due to a car accident. However, becoming an auto accident victim is an unfortunate reality of many lives that strikes when least expected. The ensuing emotional distress, potential minor or serious injuries, and numerous repercussions can be overwhelming to deal with if you’re not informed and somewhat ready before the accident occurs.

Car accident help techniques can be applied preemptively, during and after an accident to greatly reduce the stress of the situation, help prevent further injury to yourself or others, assist with local authorities, and prepare for a potential legal battle that may lie ahead.

We have put together a comprehensive list of 22 car accident help suggestions in a nifty chronologically-ordered guide that covers accident preparedness through how to mentally cope with car accident injuries after you’re home or recovering in a hospital.

Before an Accident
During an Accident
After an Accident

Emergency Accident Kit For Your Vehicle

Whether your vehicle happens to blow a tire and skid out in the deep wilderness at night or gets hit by a bus in rush hour city traffic, it’s always a wise idea to have an emergency kit right there and ready for immediate use.

These are some great items to include in a personalized vehicle emergency kit that will come in handy regardless of the accident’s severity. Some items might seem obvious but you can never be too careful during preparation to ensure all bases are covered.

  • Cell phone with camera and voice recording function (if you don’t normally carry one)
  • Disposable backup camera
  • Car insurance card
  • Medical information card noting special health conditions and insurance carrier/number
  • All emergency contacts including family, friends, doctor and desired injury lawyer
  • Pen/pencil and paper to write on
  • First aid kit
  • Roadside flares
  • Small cones
  • Small, powerful LED flashlight
  • Water bottles (switched out bimonthly) or insulated drinking containers
  • Snacks like peanuts
  • At least one blanket and towel
  • Hat/gloves/change of clothes if you travel in cold weather areas
  • Spare tire

It is highly recommended to keep a physical copy of all information in case a cell phone is damaged during the accident and rendered useless. We also recommend against the prepackaged accident preparedness kits as they are typically overpriced and won’t ever contain everything you need. Purchasing your own items, much like shopping for school supplies, is the best way to go.

GPS on Phone or Separate Device

Imagine being in an accident and needing immediate medical attention but not knowing exactly where you are due to either a remote area or concussion symptoms. Wouldn’t it be nice to look at your phone and know immediately where you’re located?

Most iPhones and Android phones come with a prepackaged mapping app. If for some reason you can’t find one on your phone then make sure to get one installed as soon as possible.

Emergency Contacts Easily Accessible on Phone

People don’t generally regularly call their doctor, lawyer or insurance company to shoot the breeze so those numbers might not be easily accessible on your phone. You can save yourself a lot of headache and hassle by making sure 911 and the local police, immediate and secondary family emergency contacts, doctors, a local accident lawyer whether you are a client or not, AAA if you’re a customer, and your insurance company are quickly accessible in your phone’s contacts to offer car accident help and guidance with a single button push.

Understand Your Vehicle and Health Insurance

Many of us are guilty for buying vehicle and health insurance because we legally have to and never take the time to fully understand our coverage. If you’re in an accident and need car accident help, knowing your coverage ahead of time without having to figure out it on top of the emotional stress of an accident is hugely beneficial.

Insurance companies are notorious for presenting your coverage in the equivalent of a short novel. Spend an hour to pluck out the important information you might need such as:

  • Deductibles for health coverage
  • Emergency room, ambulance, tow truck, and out-of-network costs
  • Rental car coverage

Stay Put and Remain Calm

You’ve just been in an automobile or truck accident and are probably in immediate shock as a result. Unless you and your vehicle are literally on fire, do not under any other circumstance exit the vehicle and try your best to remain calm while you assess the situation.

First and foremost your accident will impact vehicles in the immediate vicinity. You see it in the news every now and then; someone gets out of their car after an accident or a good samaritan comes to help and one or both individuals get hit by a car speeding by wasn’t paying attention to the road.

You could also have an injury that will worsen with movement, injure yourself trying to force open a damaged door or window, or injure someone else who sees you struggling to exit and tries to offer assistance.

Move Your Vehicle if Operable

If your vehicle is still operable then it’s a good idea to maneuver it out of traffic lanes and off to the side of the road as long as there is a clear and safe path to do so. This will lessen the probability of another car or truck barreling down the road from slamming into it if they were distracted and not paying attention.

Call The Police and 911

Now that you’re still in your vehicle and calming down a little, it’s time to call the Police and 911. Ask someone else in the vehicle or the first person to arrive at the vehicle to place the call for you if you are unable to make the call due to injury or phone inaccessibility/damage.

Make sure you or whoever is on the phone with the police remains on the line until they arrive at the scene or until the 911 or police operator instructs you to hang up.

Do Not Admit Accident Fault

You may come face-to-face with the other vehicle driver(s) involved in the accident and get engaged in a conversation. Regardless of whether you feel you were at fault in the accident, do not under any circumstance admit fault for the accident to the other driver(s) or authorities. Fault discussion is best left for your attorney.

Exchange Insurance Information

If you followed the emergency kit for your vehicle directions then you’ll have your car insurance information handy. Swap this information with the other driver(s) making sure to get the following back in return:

  • Driver name(s), address and phone number
  • Car(s) make/model/year/license plate number
  • Insurance company and policy number

Talk to Witness(es)

Oftentimes one or more third parties witnessed the accident. You never know when a witness statement or testimony might be needed so it’s best to get their name and phone number at minimum, either using your pen and paper or phone, in case you need to pass the information along to your attorney.

Do Not Talk About Your Injuries

What you say about your injuries at the accident scene to anyone could come back to hurt you in the wallet later on if you underestimate the injuries. If someone asks you how you’re doing or if you’re hurt, stick with vague responses like, “I’m not sure” rather than offering any specifics.

Obviously if the paramedics are helping you at the car accident scene and ask you where you hurt, you tell them! Do not try to self-diagnose yourself; let the professionals do their job.

Car Accident Help Scene

Photograph the Accident Scene

Use your cell phone or backup disposable camera to take extensive pictures and video of the accident scene. These pictures should include the following at minimum:

  • Damage and positioning of your vehicle and the other vehicles
  • Terrain immediately before the accident including skid marks
  • Multiple angles of the accident scene

Remove Personal Belongings From Your Vehicle

If you’re physically able and it’s safe to do so after the accident scene has been secured and the vehicle is still safe to enter, you should remove all your personal belongings from your vehicle. Other people you don’t know will have access to the vehicle once the tow truck hauls it off so it’s best not to invite theft by leaving valuables laying around.

Collect Your Thoughts — Alone

At some point during the accident scene chaos, after you’ve gone through the necessities, take a few moments to stand or sit by yourself and collect your thoughts. Healing Trauma recommends a series of exercises where you rotate between focusing on the first feeling or sensation in your body and them shift that focus to the exact opposite feeling in your body over and over again. This act of Pendulation will help discharge the nervous energy.

If the injuries are so severe that you’re physically or mentally unable to do this at the scene, practice it later when you’re alone and able to do so.

Call Your Doctor

Oftentimes back and neck pain stemming from a car accident don’t show up until several hours or even a day or more after the accident. For both your personal well-being and potential lawsuit, have your doctor check you out as soon as possible after the accident. Your lawyer will need a detailed diagnosis of injuries as part of the evaluation process of your potential injury claim.

Call Your Lawyer

It’s best to err on the side of caution and contact your lawyer as you’re physically able to do so and especially before talking to the insurance company. Your lawyer shouldn’t charge you for initial advice on how to proceed with a potential injury claim and will help you spell out your options, next steps, and help define expectations.

Call Your Insurance Company

You will want to report the accident to your insurance company after you’ve talked to your lawyer. Don’t deliberately avoid getting insurance involved because the damage to your vehicle looks minor to the eye. You have no idea what nightmares are brewing under the body like a bent frame or expensive damaged parts. The former often results in a total loss of the vehicle.

Do Not Talk to Other Driver’s Insurance Company

You may get a phone call from the other driver or drivers’ insurance company inquiring about the accident. You are under no obligation to speak to them and are advised to politely decline the conversation. They are working for the other party or parties, not you.

Document Medical Treatment, Lost Wages and Distress

Your attorney will need to see documentation for all your doctor visits, medication, and wages lost as a result of any car accident injuries. If you choose to file suit then it will be a lot easier to produce documentation, such as a diary, of this information rather than trying to recreate it from receipts or memory.

If you intend to file suit for distress then also document in a journal or other medium every time the injuries impact your normal way of life.

Take Care of Yourself

Different people will experience a varied range of emotions in the hours, days, weeks and even months following an injury accident. One of the worst things you can do is cope by falling into bad habits. Use this unfortunate circumstance as a change for good by balancing your diet and regularly exercising if physically able to do so.

Seek Support From Friends and Family

It is a lot easier to get through a traumatic injury and subsequent physical healing with the support of friends and family. You may feel like being alone most of the time to deal with guilt, but you’d also be amazed how powerful being around those that care for you can be to your mental well-being during difficult times.

Be Patient

Being patient and hoping for the pain, suffering, and inconvenience of a car accident to wash away for good is easier said than done, right? Absolutely. However, knowing beforehand that the healing and legal process can take weeks, months, and sometimes longer depending on the accident and injury severity can mentally help prepare you for the aftermath of an injury accident.

The Dangers of Gas Cans

Almost every home has gas cans. We keep them in our garages and sheds to fill up lawnmowers and other devices. These red, plastic canisters are about as ubiquitous as any other home accessory. For this reason, we never really think about the dangers posed by them.

Investigation has revealed many examples of horrific accidents related to children knocking over gas cans with tricycles, fathers filling up chainsaws or lawnmowers, or people just walking by a can that explodes. Just a small spark from static electricity or a water heater’s pilot light can cause the gas can to combust.

Blitz USA Defective Gas Cans

About 95% of all gas cans sold in the United States are made of plastic. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, about 19 million gas cans are purchased by consumers every year. About 75% of these plastic cans bought in the United States are sold by Blitz USA. The company chose not to use flame arresters in its design of plastic gas cans, which makes their cans especially prone to explosions as time passes.

Flame arresters have been used in metal gas cans for 100 years and they have effectively prevented explosions. Blitz USA even used them on their own metal gas cans. However, they chose not to include the simple metal device in their cheaper plastic models. Many plastic bottles containing flammable liquids and gases already include flame arresters, including lighter fluid. Although including flame arresters would minimally increase the cost of manufacturing the gas cans, the tiny cost is well worth the investment in safety.

Flame arresters are standard in most industries. In fact, workplace standard 1926.155(l) on fire protection and prevention from the Occupational Safety and Health Care Administration requires that all gas cans have flame arresters. The same standards of protection should be applied to consumers who have gas cans in their homes.

While Blitz has recently gone out of business, its successors, including Kinderhook, should be held to the highest standards. Safety should be the number one concern when it comes to manufacturing products that can be so dangerous. Legislation requiring flame arresters on every gas can is a top priority for consumer advocacy groups for the upcoming legislative session.

Source:

http://www.takejusticeback.com/node/60

Changes in the Appearances of Pills Can Cause Lapses

Over the last ten years, generic drugs have become increasingly popular due to the savings to consumers and insurance companies. These efforts to keep healthcare costs low have saved people in the United States $1.2 trillion in that time.

Many doctors, insurance companies, and even patients switch to the cheapest generic version of a drug as soon as it becomes available. After all, the medicine is essentially the same, only perhaps with a new appearance. When patients go to pick up a refill of a prescription, they may be surprised to find that the pills are a different shape or color than they received before.

According to a recent study by prescription drug researchers from Boston’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital, this may be a problem. Research suggests that changes in a particular medication’s color or shape can cause many patients to discontinue necessary medication without notice.

Why Changes in the Appearances of Pills Can Cause Problems

Because of the way that pharmacies negotiate with drug manufacturers in order to get the best price, they may dispense one generic manufacturer’s drug one month and refill it later with the same drug made by a different manufacturer. These pills will be effective for patients even though the medication may have a different size, shape, color, and formulation. These changes should not affect the treatment of any patient or disrupt recovery in any way.

However, patients are often not told what to expect from these new pills. Even if a pharmacist may mention that the pill looks different, some patients do not trust the medication because it looks different. These patients may lose confidence in the medicine’s safety or effectiveness. Often patients suspect that there is a problem. Some patients will stop taking the pills until they can ask their doctor about the change. Others stop taking the drug entirely.

Some patients may not intend to make medication errors, but are confused by the new look of the medication. Many patients who take multiple pills daily have a difficult time keeping a medication schedule straight. Any change can disrupt a patient’s habits. These patients may forget the new pill, confuse it with another pill, or even accidentally double up on one medication.

These are serious problems, since many of the patients who are the most easily confused by the new look of a pill are those who most require the medication to live. The authors of the study have encouraged the FDA to rethink its hands-off policy on regulating the appearance of generic drugs and to require similar appearances for equivalent medications. Medication errors cause thousands of death in the U.S. every year. This change in regulations can help patients avoid errors.

 
Source:

http://www.sci-tech-today.com/story.xhtml?story_id=1010024ZQ40W&page=1

Summer Food Safety

During the cold winter months, almost everyone looks forward to warmer weather, grilling, and spending quality time with their families over picnic baskets. While there are plenty of opportunities to partake in outdoor fun with friends and relatives, warm weather events such as barbecuing, outdoor concerts, and picnics may also present opportunities for foodborne bacteria to thrive. The increasing temperatures may cause bacteria to more rapidly multiply than it would in colder weather conditions. To protect yourself, friends, and families from illnesses during the summer, it is important to understand and implement safe food handling practices. Several food safety guidelines should be followed for transporting, preparing, and serving the food once an individual has arrived at his or her destination.

It is critical to keep food safe as it travels from the refrigerator or freezer to the picnic table. Pack the food into a cooler with frozen gel packs or ice to store it at 40 degrees Fahrenheit or below in order to prevent bacteria from growing. Seafood, poultry, and meat may be packed while frozen so it will stay colder for a longer period. Avoid unnecessarily opening the cooler so that it will remain cold for as long as possible. Before distributing food, all individuals who will be handling the meal should ensure that their hands and surfaces are clean. This includes serving dishes, utensils, trays, and platters. If running water is inaccessible, a water jug may be used in its place.

Much like cooking indoors, several important guidelines should be followed to ensure that the food is safe to consume. Avoid marinating food outdoors or on the kitchen counter; use a refrigerator instead, and do not reuse marinade if you have extra leftover in the container. The food should be thoroughly cooked and checked with a food thermometer. Pork, fish, roasts, and steaks must reach an internal temperature of 145 degrees Fahrenheit while egg dishes and ground beef are safest to consume when they are cooked to at least 160 degrees Fahrenheit. Whole poultry and chicken breasts must be cooked until they reach 165 degrees Fahrenheit, and it is important to cook muscles, lobster, and shrimp until they are opaque and pearly.

Maintaining food at the proper temperatures, indoors and outdoors, is important to prevent the growth of foodborne bacteria. The key is to never let picnic food remain in what is known as the “danger zone,” or between 40 degrees Fahrenheit and 140 degrees Fahrenheit, for more than two hours. That rule is reduced to just one hour if temperatures exceed 90 degrees Fahrenheit. Cold food should be kept in a cooler at 40 degrees Fahrenheit or below until it is ready to be served, and hot food should be stored at or above 140 degrees Fahrenheit in an insulated container.

To prevent cross-contamination when serving, it is critical to never reuse utensils or plates that previously held seafood, poultry, or raw meat for serving unless they have first been washed in soapy, hot water. If one single plate is used for multiple foods without cleaning it, there is the risk of spreading bacteria from the raw juices to the cooked and ready-to-eat meat.

Sources:

http://www.fda.gov/Food/FoodborneIllnessContaminants/BuyStoreServeSafeFood/ucm109899.htm

Medication Awareness – Know What the Terms Really Mean

Consumers are faced with dizzying array of over-the-counter medications for many types of illness. Although most of these OTC medications are considered safe for use, they can use labeling language that is confusing or inexact. If you understand what many of these terms mean, you will be able to use the medication for its best effect.

Extra Strength Ingredients

A medication that states “extra strength” means that each dose contains a larger amount of the active ingredient. Because additional amounts of the drug may cause increased side effects in sensitive individuals, you may need to adjust the dosage to suit your needs.

Non-Drowsy Formulas

“Non-drowsy” generally refers to medications that contain antihistamines. These drugs may be taken to control allergies, reduce stuffiness from colds or other purposes. “Non-drowsy” may mean that the medication has additional compounds such as pseudoephedrine or caffeine to prevent the side effect of sleepiness. However, these ingredients may not be effective for minimizing this effect.

PM on Label

If the over-the-counter medication is labeled as “PM,” it probably contains diphenhydramine or doxylamine, two ingredients that can cause drowsiness. Medications labeled “PM” are for nighttime use and staying alert is not critical. These medications can induce sleep, and may cause a “hangover” that affects alertness during the following day.

Long-Acting or 24-Hour

Some medications are formulated in a time-release compound that is effective throughout the day. “All-Day” may only refer to daytime hours, rather than 24 hours around the clock. Another dose is generally required after 10 to 12 hours, depending on the type of medication. Read labels carefully to ensure that you take the medication for the full effectiveness.

Drug Warnings

This part of the drug labeling is critical if you take any type of prescription medication on a regular basis, are highly allergic, or are pregnant or breast-feeding.

  • Some drugs can interact with prescription medications, either enhancing or lessening the effect of the medication. Blood pressure may be affected by many over-the-counter medications. Always check with your doctor before using over-the-counter medications along with your usual prescription medications.
  • Patients who frequently have allergic reactions to medications should check with their doctors before using any new over-the-counter medication. These drugs may contain compounds that cause a severe reaction.
  • Many drugs permeate the placental barrier in the womb and can have a serious effect on a developing fetus. Women should discuss the use of any over-the-counter medication with their doctors before using any of these drugs.

Sources:
http://www.fda.gov/ForConsumers/ConsumerUpdates/ucm351130.htm
http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/2014/04/how-to-read-over-the-counter-drug-labels/index.htm