Nearly everyone either knows someone who has been in an accident or has been involved in one themselves. Traffic accidents kill over 30,000 people a year in the United States and injure another 2.3 million. Statistically, your chances of being injured in a car accident is better than one in a thousand, in any one year!
Another unfortunate fact is that most people don’t know what to do after a car accident. It’s important to think ahead and be prepared should (God forbid) you experience a car accident yourself. Below is a list of 12 important steps you should take.
What To Do After A Car Accident
- Make sure you are safe from further harm.
Depending upon your injuries and how your accident happened it might be safer for you to get away from your car and off the highway.
- See if anyone else is in need of medical care.
Check with everyone in your vehicle and any other vehicles involved to see if they have been injured in any way
- Call and report the accident
To enusre that medical personnel and law enforcement can be dispatched to the accident scene in a timely fashion.
- Cooperate with law enforcement
State the facts on how the accident happened. Stay calm and factual, even if the other person is lying about what took place. If the police are not on the scene, make sure you file a police report.
- Speak with the at fault person to find out why they caused the accident.
Often the at-fault person will admit to being distracted, such as talking on the cell phone or texting.
- Obtain witness names and contact information.
Do not rely on law enforcement to do this important task. Witnesses may leave the scene before law enforcement arrives, or law enforcement may overlook documenting the witness’s identity. If the witness does not cooperate simply take a picture of the car’s license tag and write down its make and model. Your attorney can use that information to secure that witnesses’ identity.
- Obtain photographs
Take pictures with your cell phone or camera of the vehicles involved and any physical evidence at the scene, including any skid or tire marking on the pavement.
- Immediately seek medical treatment.
It is important for you to see a qualified healthcare professional and allow them to conduct a physical examination as well as perform necessary diagnostic testing. Your failure to do this could result in further injury and will be used as a defense to any claim of injury.
- Contact your insurance company to report the claim.
You have a duty to notify your insurance company that an accident occurred. If you are not feeling up to it because of your injuries, have a family member make the initial call to report the fact you were in an accident.
- Do not speak the at fault insurance company
It is important that you do NOT speak to the at fault insurance company or any of their investigators. The at fault insurance company will try to obtain a recorded statement from you. They are trained in questioning you in a certain manner in an effort to avoid their insured’s accountability.
- Talk to an attorney.
Knowing your legal rights is imperative to protecting you. There are many important things a Personal Injury Attorney can do for you. Having someone on your side to help navigate through the legal procedures involved can be a godsend.
By following these 11 simple steps you can help ensure that the appropriate information has been accurately documented and should a law suit be filed, your rights are protected to the best of your ability. If you have been injured in a car accident contact us today for a free case evaluation.