What To Do When You’ve Been Involved In An Accident
The U.S. has approximately 264 million registered vehicles and 218 million drivers with a valid driving license. 2015 was one of the worst years given there were 6.3 million car crashes that resulted in fatalities, injuries as well as property damages. When you consider the frequency of minor accidents and the fact that 20% of fatal crashes in the U.S. are linked to unlicensed drivers according to the AAA Foundation of Public Safety, the probability of being involved in a car accident isn’t as low as most people think. So, what should you do if you are involved in an accident?
Step 1: Stop
Never drive away from an accident scene. Immediately after a collision, remain on the scene.
Step 2: Secure the scene
To prevent further accidents, take measures like setting up a flare, putting up a reflective triangle warning sign and putting your hazard warning lights on. This step should be taken in minor accident cases. In case of a major accident that limits your movement, wait in your car and call for help.
Step 3: Call for help
You should call the police immediately after being involved in an accident even when the accident isn’t serious. This is recommendable since you need a police report to file an accident claim with your insurer.
Step 4: Make an accurate record
It might take the police a while to arrive at the scene of the accident. Use this time to document everything. You should focus on collecting information such as; name and phone numbers of the other driver/s and witnesses if any. You should also obtain driver’s license and insurance information of the other driver/s as well as take pictures and videos of the scene before moving the vehicles. Other important information that should be noted include; time, date and weather. Share this information accurately with the police when they arrive. If you don’t know certain facts, don’t speculate, misstate or guess.
The police should give you and the other driver/s a report number which you will use to get a police report.
Step 5: Notify your insurer
Most car insurance policies demand immediate reporting. You should find out if you have medical benefits at this time. Car accidents may result in injuries that aren’t apparent immediately. It is important to find out if your insurance covers a medical examination to avoid additional costs. Your insurer should advise you accordingly when you call them.
Step 6: Protect your rights. Contact an accident lawyer
Besides contacting the police and your insurer, you need to contact an accident lawyer as well. You need an accident lawyer to ensure valuable evidence isn’t destroyed. Some insurance companies are known to take statements from their clients immediately after accidents. You should seek legal advice before offering such a statement since they can determine if you will be compensated and how much you will receive. An accident lawyer is capable of safeguarding all your interests ensuring you get the compensation you deserve.
Car accidents can be very costly. Besides car damage costs, you are bound to incur other costs like; out-of-pocket medical expenses and loss of income (if you miss work because of injuries). You can also become disabled. You should get compensation for such costs and occurrences. However, you need the best accident lawyer you can find.
Stambaugh Law is a renowned law firm with 29 years of experience in handling and winning car accident cases.