Over six million car accidents occur each year in the United States. A person is injured in one out of three car accidents. If you are involved in a car accident, there are certain things you should do to protect yourself. The following is a list of the top ten things you should do if you are in an accident:
Never drive away from the scene of an accident, even a minor one. The law often requires that you stay at the scene, and leaving the scene will prevent the police from hearing your version of events.
To help prevent further accidents, you can keep your emergency flashers on or set up road flares. If it’s dark outside, you can use your phone’s flashlight to navigate the crash scene. The vehicles involved in the accident should remain where they are, unless they are blocking traffic. After the scene is secure, you should wait in your car or by the side of the road until emergency responders arrive.
Even if there are no serious injuries, it is always a good idea to call the police. Sometimes, the police can take a long time to arrive at the scene. It is worth the wait. You may need a traffic accident report from the police to support an insurance claim later.
When the police arrive, make sure to tell the officer(s) your side of the story. If asked whether you are injured and you are not absolutely sure, say you are not sure, rather than no. Often injured persons only feel their pain and injuries in the days following a car accident. If there were witnesses to the accident, identify them for the police.
If you have a cell phone with a camera, or a camera in your vehicle, you should take pictures of the damage to all vehicles involved and the accident scene. Make sure to stay out of the road to avoid being further injured. If you cannot take pictures of the damage to your vehicle at the scene of the accident, take them as soon as possible after the accident.
Usually, the police officer investigating the crash will obtain insurance and contact information from the drivers involved. However, if the police do not respond to the accident, you should obtain the name, address and telephone number of all persons involved in the accident, including drivers and passengers. You should also ask the other driver(s) to see their auto insurance card(s). Take pictures of the card(s) if you can. If there are witnesses, you should get information from them as well. If the police respond to the accident, ask the investigating officer for the police report number. All this information will be very useful to your attorney in helping get compensation for your injuries and damages later.
Notify your insurance company as soon as possible. Many insurance policies require that you report an accident immediately. Find out whether you have medical benefits coverage, also known as “medpay” coverage, as part of your insurance coverage. You pay additional premiums for medpay coverage so you should use it. Your insurance premiums should not increase as a result of using medpay coverage.
Often injured persons only feel their pain and injuries in the days following a car accident. Most of our clients report feeling the most pain in the days following the accident. Unless you are absolutely sure you were not injured, you should seek medical attention from your local hospital or primary care provider. If you lost consciousness or felt dizzy after the crash, even a short period of time, you may have suffered a concussion or closed head injury. This type of injury can be very serious, and you should seek immediate medical attention.
Keep all the accident-related documents and information you gathered, including information regarding persons involved in the accident, photographs, and the accident report number. Provide these records to your attorney to assist in pursuing your claim.
It is always a good idea to consult an attorney after an accident. Fair Price Lawyers provides free accident consultations. Your attorney can protect your rights and make sure valuable evidence is preserved. Often, the at-fault driver’s insurance company will want to take a statement from you immediately after the crash. You should seek legal advice before providing such a statement. Your attorney can explain how to go about getting full compensation for your injuries and damages and how to get the additional medical treatment you may need. Personal injury attorneys work on a contingency fee basis, which means there is no charge from the attorney until you receive compensation for your injuries and damages.