No one wants to think about car accidents, but no matter how safely you drive, they can happen to anyone. Whether you’re driving to work, to school or just to the grocery store in your BMW, what should you do if you accidentally drive your car into a storefront or other building?
A Look at the Statistics
Accidents between cars and buildings are more common than most people think. On average, there are 60 accidents where a car strikes a building every single day in the United States alone. These accidents result in upwards of 4,000 injuries and 500 fatalities every year.
While the majority of these accidents are the result of operator error and pedal error, many of them could be prevented with the installation of bollards — steel or concrete poles secured to the sidewalk outside the business. These bollards are designed to take the impact of a car instead of letting the car strike the storefront, potentially injuring pedestrians or customers.
What should you do if you crash your BMW into a store?
As with any car accident, the first thing you need to do is to assess the situation. Are you injured? Are any of the passengers in your car injured? Is the car dangerous — on fire, or billowing smoke? If you aren’t obviously injured, you can get out of your BMW to assess the situation. If you are hurt and the car is safe, the best idea is to stay in the car — moving after an accident can end up making the injury worse.
You’ll also want to call 911 and let them know there has been an accident so emergency workers can respond.
Step two is to collect information from anyone involved in the accident. If you end up striking a storefront, this will include exchanging information with the store owner or the manager on duty. You will also want to collect contact information from any witnesses. The first responders will also gather this information, but it can be useful to have in case your insurance company requests it.
Once the police have finished their work and you are free to go, get a copy of the police report and contact your insurance company to let them know you’ve been in an accident. They will contact the store’s insurance and will likely request a copy of the police report.
Once you’ve reported the accident to your insurance company, they will handle the majority of the rest of the process. They may contact you again if you were injured or if they need any additional information.
Finally, whether you feel injured or not, you should schedule an appointment with your doctor. The soft-tissue injuries caused by car accidents such as whiplash can take days or weeks to manifest symptoms, so it’s important to get checked out.
Getting in to see your doctor soon can also help you out with your insurance company. If you wait more than two weeks to see your doctor, it becomes more difficult to pin the blame for the injury on your accident, so if you are out of work because of injury, you will want that paper trail to pass on to the insurance company.
Accidents happen, no matter who you are, so the only thing you can do is be prepared for them when they do occur. Knowing how to respond in the event of an accident can help the recovery process go a little more smoothly.