Automobile Accidents occur every single day. In fact, over six million car accidents occur each year in the United States. The initial shock of being in a accident can feel traumatic, leaving you disoriented. It’s important to remain calm and focused, so you don’t forget these very important steps you need to take:
1. STOP: Never leave the scene of an accident. It’s important that you wait for the proper authorities to arrive to assess the nature of the scene. No matter how minor the accident may be, never leave the scene prematurely.
2. Protect and preserve the scene: To prevent further damage to your vehicle, you should do everything you can to illuminate the area around you. For example, if it’s dark outside, you can set up flares, or keep your flashers on. Having an emergency preparedness kit in your car is a great idea in case your vehicle becomes disabled and you’re stranded on the side of the road. To learn more about what to keep in your car in case of an emergency, click here. (Link to Emergency Kit Blog here).
3. Call the police. Even if there are no serious injuries, you should call the police. It may be necessary to file a police report, so you can file a claim with your insurance company. Unless the vehicles involved in the accident are blocking traffic, they should not be moved. Additionally, the aftermath of an auto accident can be a stressful situation and it’s possible that tempers may be flaring. Having a police officer present can help calm nerves.
4. Be Clear, Concise, and Accurate in Your Assessment of the Scene: Be sure to tell the officers at the scene precisely what happened. Try to be as accurate and as clear as possible. Get accurate statements from any witnesses at the scene as well.
5. Take pictures. It’s important to have as much documentation of the accident as possible. Photos are a good way to show evidence of what actually happened.
6. Exchange Information. It’s very important that you get the contact and insurance information from the other party. You’ll want to get contact information from any witnesses at the scene. Their statements can come in handy if you ever need to go to court regarding the auto accident.
7. Report the accident to your insurance company. They can tell you if you have medical payments coverage as part of your insurance policy. If you do, you can use it to cover any hospital visits you may need.
8. Seek medical care. It’s not uncommon for injuries sustained at an accident scene to remain dormant at first. With time, they can flare up, making your everyday life more challenging.
9. Keep a file. Staying organized can make your life a lot more stress-free. All of your documents like your police report and contact information from witnesses should be kept together. Consider creating a file to keep everything together, so you if you need to, you can refer back to it easily.
10. Before providing your insurance company with a statement, consider consulting an attorney, so you’re able to get any legal advice pertaining to compensation for damaged vehicle or if you need medical treatment because of the accident.