Being in a car accident can be scary, and things quickly become hectic. Oftentimes, everything happens so quickly that it becomes difficult to think straight. These are the things that you need to know before an accident happens, so that you are prepared if you find yourself in this unfortunate situation.
Do not ever leave the scene of an accident — no matter how minor it may be. Not only is this illegal, it is dangerous.
Protect the Scene of the Accident
Further accidents can be prevented by setting up flares or keeping your flashers on. If it is dark outside and your lights are not working, utilize a flashlight to keep your area illuminated while you wait by the disabled vehicle or on the side of the road.
Call the Police
Even when there are no serious injuries, it is a good idea to notify the police. You may need to file a police report in order to file a claim with the insurance company, even if you’re just making a claim for damage to the vehicle. The vehicles involved should remain where they are unless they are blocking traffic.
After the police arrive, be sure to tell the officers exactly what happened as best you remember it. If you are unsure of certain things, tell the officer. Do not guess or speculate on anything, and if you are asked if you are injured and you are not sure, state that you are not sure, not that you are okay. Many times, the pain from an accident does not present itself until after the collision. Check to make sure that the statement made by the other person is accurate as well.
Using a real camera or a cell phone, take photos of the vehicles if there is visible damage or if you have visible injuries. When taking the pictures, though, do not interfere with the police investigation happening. Michael Ehline, a California personal injury lawyer, urges accident victims to record all damage, ensuring that the firm can properly fight for the justice that the victim deserves.
Normally, the police officer investigating the accident will get this information and provide a police report number. However, if the police are not at the scene of the accident, you should get the name, address, and phone number of all people involved in the accident — drivers and passengers. Copy the information on the driver’s insurance card for all vehicles involved and get contact information from any witnesses.
Report the Accident
Notify the insurance company as soon as possible. Many times, it is necessary to report immediately and to provide full cooperation. Find out if your insurance coverage has medical benefits for an accident. If you do, you are required to submit accident-related medical bills to the insurance company. Once these benefits are exhausted, private insurance will take over.
Protect your Rights
One of the most important things to do after an accident is to contact your attorney. They can protect your rights and ensure that valuable evidence is not destroyed. Seek legal advice before providing a statement to the insurance company. The attorney can provide information on how to ensure that you are fully compensated for the vehicle and receive the proper medical treatment. Personal injury attorneys do not collect legal fees unless they recover compensation for the injured party.
Seek Medical Attention
Because most accident-related injuries present themselves a day or two later, it is vital to seek medical attention. Even minor accidents can leave serious and permanent injuries. If you sustained any head injuries during the accident that are left untreated, these can cause behavioral and cognitive changes.
Keep a File
All accident-related information and documents should include a claim number, the adjuster, and the contact information of all people that were involved in the accident. Additionally, receipts for things like a rental car and other expenses from the accident should be kept as well.