In the United States alone, over 6 million accidents are reported each year, according to research. However, the good news is that a majority of them involve property damage (this involved damages to third party properties and vehicles opposed to occupants). Although this is the case, research shows that one in every three accidents involves personal injuries to either the driver or passengers. Out of this number, one in every five accidents result in fatal injuries.
As such, it is wise to know the steps to follow after a car accident. These steps will not only help you protect yourself but also protect your interests. Below is a list that involves ten steps to follow after an auto accident:
1. Always STOP – It is never wise to run away from the scene of an accident. It does not matter if the accident is minor.
2. Protect The Scene Of The Accident – Protecting the scene from further accidents should be your second step. If it is dark and your vehicle lights do not work, consider using a flashlight to indicate to other drivers. If it is on a busy highway, consider using your hazard triangle signs some distance behind the accident.
3. Call The Police – It does not matter if the accident is not severe; it is always wise to contact the police. The reason being that you may need the police report to file for a compensation claim with the insurance company, even if it is just to file a claim for your damaged vehicle. Remember, all vehicles involved in the accident should remain the way they are.
4. Make Accurate Record – The moment the police arrive at the scene, make sure that you tell them precisely what happened to your best of ability. If you are not sure of anything or do not know of specific facts, do not speculate. Guessing or providing misstatement will affect you. For example, if you are asked if your injured and you are not sure, it is wise to say that you are not sure, rather than saying NO.
NOTE: injuries and pains from a car accident come a few hours after it has occurred. There are situations where pains will come a day after the accident. It is crucial also to ensure the statement given by the other party is accurate.
5. Take Pictures – It is wise also to take pictures for evidence purposes. Today, almost everyone has a phone that is equipped with a good camera. As such, taking pictures has been made easy. Nevertheless, you should take images of everything in and around the vehicle. You should not forget to take images of your injuries soon after the accident.
6. Exchanging Information – Generally, the police will take this information and include it in the report. However, in the case where the police do not show at the scene of the accident, the best thing to do is collect the name, address, and telephone number of the person involved in the accident. Do not forget to collect insurance information from the other party. You should not forget to take information from passengers and even those who witnessed what happened. However, when the police do respond, they will collect all the information needed and file it in their police report. If the accident occurred on a state highway, you must request the report filed from the state police.
7. Inform The Insurance Company – It is wise to report the accident to the insurance company as soon as possible. Infarct, many policies require immediate reporting as well as full cooperation. You should also try to know if you have medical benefits from the insurance company. If you have Medpay, the more you are safer. Medpay is a type of cover that only covers car accident-related injuries and medical bills. The moment the cover is exhausted; private health insurance comes into play. This type of insurance cover is available to all vehicle occupants.
8. Seek Immediate Medical Attention – Remember, injuries and pains from a car accident are not felt immediately. Infarct, many begin to feel the extent of their injuries about a day or two after the accident. For this reason, it is wise to go for a medical check-up immediately after an auto accident. It does not matter if you are feeling fine or think that you are not injured; seek medical attention. Remember, car accident injuries are not always visible; many of them occur internally. It does not also matter if the accident was minor, seek immediate attention. There is no way to emphasize the true weight of this point.
9. Keep Records – It is wise to keep all accident-related information and documents together. This should include claim number, claim adjuster’s data (name and phone number), receipts (including all car and medical expenses), and all medical reports.
10. Protect Your Rights – The best thing to do after an accident is consulting a lawyer. Especially if you think the other party may lie about the accident. Accident Tampa have written and article on this subject, read it here. There are many benefits to taking this action, such as rights protection, collecting evidence, and ensuring you get proper representation when it comes to filing for a claim. Insurance companies always want to collect statements immediately after the accident. Their main aim is to find a way that will limit the compensation amount. For this reason, it is wise to speak with an attorney before providing any statements.
An attorney will advise you based on the legal point of view about arising issues with the aim of ensuring you get your full compensation amount. The lawyer will ensure the compensation you get will include both property and personal claims. In other words, compensation will cancel all vehicle damage repairs, medical bills, injuries suffered, unpaid wages, and much more. A majority of personal injury lawyers work through a contingency fee basis. This simply means that you will not pay for any legal fee out of pocket. Also, the attorney will not get paid if you are not compensated.