Accidents can happen as you travel to work, visit friends, or see your family for the holidays. The Association for Safe International Road Travel estimates that nearly 2.35 million people are injured in road crashes every year. While it’s extremely important to be aware while driving a car, or crossing the road, it’s equally as important to know what to do following a car accident. Keep these tips in mind so that you are mentally prepared while on the road:
1. Stay Calm
Getting into a car accident is nerve-racking, if not terrifying, depending on the severity. But, the first thing to do is breathe and take a look at your surroundings. Make sure to stay at the scene. Do not panic and leave, as the accident may be considered a hit-and-run and you may have trouble proving your innocence.
Check to see if you have any injuries. If you can get out of your car, do so immediately. Check to see if anyone else is injured because of the accident. Try to assist them and reduce the chance of further injuries; for example, get them out of the line of traffic. Do not get angry and immediately place the blame on the other party, nor take responsibility. Stay calm and ensure that everyone is safe.
2. Call the Authorities
If you are able to, dial 911 immediately – it alerts the police, fire department, and medical departments. Let them know where you are and how many people are injured. Wait patiently until they come and do not try to do anything reckless, like put out the fire in your car yourself, or conduct any medical procedures. You could make things much worse.
3. Keep a Record of License Plates and Driver’s License Information
Try to document information as soon as possible. Important pieces of information to take down are: the other party’s license information, the license plate of the car, the location and time of the accident, and the names of any witnesses. Try to take photos or videos of the wreckage and conversations with the party responsible.
When 911 assistance arrives, write down the names of the police officers, and information about the emergency vehicle.
4. Keep Medical Records of Your Injury
If you require medical assistance following the crash, ensure that you have records of all the medical procedures necessary and what medications are prescribed. Keep a record of all expenses that you have to pay, and talk to a doctor to understand the extent of your injuries. Compensation received in a personal injury lawsuit is based on the extent of your injury and the financial burdens you have to bear. Keeping a good record of all your medical expenses will serve as proof.
5. Contact Your Insurance Company
If you have been the victim of a car crash, your insurance company should help with certain expenses. Check if you are eligible to receive compensation through PIP – personal injury protection. Currently, 12 states in the U.S. provide PIP insurance. Conduct some research online to understand what PIP insurance is. Many insurance companies will want to avoid paying hefty fees related to car accidents and may evade your calls, or provide faulty explanations as to why you aren’t covered. Ensure that you document all your attempts to communicate with your insurance company.
6. Learn More About Personal Injury Firms Before Pursuing a Claim
Many personal injury law firms focus on specific types of cases. Conduct thorough research to find a personal injury law firm that has experience dealing with auto accidents and find more information about their settlements in the past.
Car accidents can happen at any time and it’s important to be prepared in the event of one. If you have been in a car accident and you suspect that someone else is at fault, contact Morgan & Morgan for a free, no-obligation case review.