On average, six million car accidents occur in the United States every year. Most accidents only lead to property damage, i.e., damage to the vehicle, while others can result in injuries or even death. Additionally, approximately three million people are injured in car accidents every year, with 40 percent of accidents occurring as a result of alcohol.
If you’ve found yourself in the middle of an automobile accident, there are several things that you should do to protect yourself. Here are seven things you should focus on,
Stop and assess the situation
First and foremost, don’t be one of those people who run or drive away from the scene of a crime. Regardless of how serious, or non-serious, a car accident, you should always stop. Once you stay back, you should protect the scene by either keeping your flashers on or setting up flares. In case your car’s lights don’t work, and the area is dark, you should prepare for unforeseen circumstances by storing a flashlight. The flashlight will keep you safe while you wait on the side of the road or in your car.
Moreover, you should check whether any other vehicles or even street signs, were harmed in the accident. Also, you need to check whether any people were injured, and if they were, then call an ambulance as soon as possible.
Call the police and report the accident
Even if the accident was minor, it’s never a bad idea to contact the police. You will most likely need a police report to back up any claims for vehicle damage you make to your insurance company. Unless the vehicles involved are disrupting traffic, the cars should ideally remain at the scene of the accident. If you are unable to file a report with the police at the scene of the accident, you can always opt for filing an online report.
The websites where you can file online reports usually vary from state to state. For instance, in Texas, which reports an injury on reportable crashes every 2 minutes 7 seconds, the process of filing a Texas crash report is quite easy. The platform is accessible anywhere due to its centralised nature.
Apart from the police, you should also file a report with your insurance company. The majority of insurance policies require you to file a report immediately and cooperate extensively. If you’ve incurred any injuries during the accident, you should inquire about any medical benefits linked to your insurance. This is usually called Med Pay and usually covers medical bills related to accidents. These benefits can be availed by anyone who occupies the insured vehicle — making a claim for Med Pay coverage often doesn’t increase insurance expenses.
Make a record
If you have a phone with a decent camera or your vehicle is equipped with one, you should take pictures of your car if it’s incurred any damage. You should also take photographs of any injuries you have suffered, too. However, taking photos doesn’t mean you can interfere with the police investigation. If you don’t have a camera or are unable to take pictures, you should take them as soon as possible later on.
When you’re filing a report or when the police arrive, you need to tell the officers exactly what happened. You should recount everything as accurately as possible and should not guess anything. If an officer asks if you’ve suffered an injury and you’re not sure, then you should ask for a checkup. Sometimes, traumas and pain reveal themselves after some time has passed, so it’s always better to be safe. Additionally, if any other people were involved, you need to ensure they make accurate statements, too.
Collect necessary information
Usually, any officers involved will take this information. However, in the case that officers do not respond to your report, you should collect vital information, such as the names, addresses, and contact details of all people involved in the accident. Additionally, you should also inquire about insurance by looking at the insurance cars of all vehicles affected in the accident. Apart from any passengers or drivers, you should also get the details of any witnesses of the accident.
When you’ve reported the accident, the police officer will provide you with a police report number that you can use to take a look at your accident report later on.
Compile all information
Any information related to your accident, whether that’s your police report or any photos of the accident, should be compiled and stored. It should also include any insurance-related information and the contact details of any other people involved.
Go for a checkup
As mentioned above, most of the time, injuries incurred in an accident do not reveal themselves immediately. Many people experience pain a couple of days after the accident. Unless you are sure that you didn’t incur any injury, you should let a doctor or medical attendant perform a checkup.
Accidents with minor impact can sometimes lead to long-term injury, too. Additionally, concussions often occur as a result of collisions and can lead to behavioral or cognitive effects if left unattended.
The most vital thing you can do after being involved in a vehicle accident is to contact your lawyer. Your lawyer can help you get ahead and protect your rights by ensuring nothing valuable is destroyed. Moreover, sound legal advice is essential before you give a statement to your insurance company.
Your lawyer can advise you on your insurance and also ensure you’re getting the right medical attention. Such services often charge on contingencies, which means you won’t need to pay for a lawyer unless they recover any claims.
It’s always better to be informed in case of unforeseen circumstances. By preparing yourself in advance, you can ensure you won’t panic and stay calm if you find yourself in the middle of a road accident one day.
Have you ever been involved in a road accident? What would you advise? Let us know in the comments below!