Do you know the action that you should take if you are involved in an auto accident? Auto accidents are far more common than most people realize and more than six million accidents occur through the US every year.
The good news is that the majority of car accidents will only involve damage to the car rather than the individuals driving or the passengers. However, one in three accidents will result in an injury that impacts the driver or the passenger. Two in ten accidents result in a fatal injury.
There are a variety of steps that you must take after an auto accident has occurred. This guide will help you understand the right action.
You do need to make sure that you stop after an accident has taken place. There are many people who believe that if the accident is minor, they are safe to drive off. However, it is crucial that you do pull over. This is particularly crucial if you have collided with another vehicle on the road. Failing to do this could result in a police investigation and it will impact your defense if there are legal issues.
Protect the Scene
Depending on the point of collision, it is possible that the situation could be dangerous for other drivers on the road. As such, it is important to make sure that you do what you can to avoid further accidents. The best way to do this is by activating your flashers. Alternatively, if it’s dark, you might want to leave your lights on as well. If you are getting outside the vehicle, make sure that you wait in a safe place.
Contact The Police
Unless you are certain that someone else has already made this call, it is worth contacting the police. You should do this after you have checked yourself, any passengers and potentially other drivers for injuries. If there are injuries you should also call for paramedics.
In some cases, you may need to call the police to gain a police report. This could be necessary if you plan on filing a claim with an insurance company. This may be necessary, even if you are just claiming any damage to your vehicle.
Usually, you should not move the vehicles that are involved in the auto accident. The only exception to this rule is if the vehicles are interfering with traffic and it is safe to move them. Otherwise, the vehicles should remain switched off until the police arrive.
Complete An Honest Report
It can be difficult to get your facts straight after an accident because you could be in shock. However, to the best of your ability, you should make sure that you are providing an honest and accurate police report. Honesty is important here so if there is any information that you are unsure of, simply say that you don’t know. It is often best to say that you are unsure whether you have suffered any injuries. Some injuries only become noticeable hours after the collision takes place.
One thing to note here is that you should not be admitting fault. You shouldn’t be taking responsibility for the accident when speaking to the police or anyone else involved. This is important because there may be mitigating circumstances that you are completely unaware of about the incident.
It is possible that police will not respond to what is deemed to be a minor incident. In cases like this, you should make sure that you are obtaining and exchanging the correct information with anyone involved. You should get the name, address, and number of anyone involved. You should also be getting insurance information of the drivers involved in the accident. You can do this by asking to see their insurance card.
There could also be witnesses. Make sure that you get their details too. This will make it easier for your attorney to contact them at a later date.
If the police do respond, then this information will be available from the police report. You will be provided with a number that you can call to gain this. If the incident occurs on a state highway, you need to contact the state police to gain the report.
Contact Your Insurance Provider
You should be notifying your insurance provider about the accident as soon as possible. It is possible that your insurance coverage including medical benefits. This is known as “medpay” and will be an extra part of your policy. If you have one, you should use it. This option is available to all occupants of the vehicle and it should not impact your coverage.
Get Medical Attention
Regardless of whether you feel fine, you should get checked out by a doctor. Remember injuries are not always immediately apparent. So, unless you are completely confident you sustained no injury, it’s best to get checked out. This is absolutely vital if you lost consciousness at any stage during an accident.
Keep All The Info
It is important to ensure that you have all the information about the accident readily available. This needs to include any costs that you have incurred due to the accident itself. For instance, you might have required a rental car. Get the name of the person handling your claim as well and all the numbers of individuals involved.
Finally, one of the most important steps that you should take after an accident like this is to contact a lawyer. Your attorney will be able to make sure that your rights are protected. Typically, an insurance company will want a statement as soon as the accident occurs. You must make sure that you have received legal advice before you make this statement. Your attorney will be able to provide information and advice on a wide range of topics including how to ensure that you gain a fair level of compensation. Injuries from car accidents can become chronic and without the right compensation, they will impact your quality of life. The right attorney will prevent this from happening.