Annually in the United States we experience over 6 million motor accidents. Most involve only property damage (damage to the vehicle) as opposed to any injury to the occupant. Statistics show that 1 in 3 accidents involve personal injury. And out of that number 2 out of 10 accidents cause fatal injuries.
In case you are involved in a, motor accident there are certain things that you are supposed to do in order to protect your own interests and also protect yourself. Below is a list of the top 10 steps to follow when you are involved in a car accident.
- STOP. It’s important that you stay in the scene of the accident. It’s never a good idea to drive away from any accident no matter how minor the accident is.
- PROTECT THE SCENE. These can be done by keeping your flashers on, it will also prevent more accidents from happening. If it’s at night and the lights don’t work you can have a flashlight on, as you wait for help in the disabled car.
- CALL THE POLICE. It’s important to inform the police. Even when there are no serious injuries. Furthermore, you might need a police report when making a claim with your insurance company. The vehicle should not be moved unless its interfering with the traffic.
- MAKE AN ACCURATE RECORD. Its important that you give the investigating officers the correct, detailed and all information with regards to the accident. Try to remember as much as you can and do not speculate. If you don’t know or can’t remember some facts tell that to the officer. If the officer asks you if you are injured and you are not sure it’s good to say you don’t know. This is because injuries from motor accidents become evident hours after the collision. Make sure the statements made by other people who were involved in the accident concur with yours.
- TAKE PICTURES. If you have a camera or a phone that has a camera, its recommended that you take pictures of the car where it has been damaged. You are also advised to take pictures of any form of injury you might have got from the accident. Though this should not interfere with ongoing investigation.
- EXCHANGE INFORMATION. It’s important to get all the information from other people involved in the accident. Get their contacts and names so that your attorney can contact them in future. Ask about the insurance cards for all the vehicles involved in the accident. Also if there are witnesses around get their contacts, their statements will be useful in case of any court hearing. Though all this information will be collected by the investigating officer, it’s still important to have the information. If the accident had occurred in a state highway, its recommended that you request the report from the state police.
- REPORT THE ACCIDENT. It’s important to notify your insurance company immediately. Most police will require you to make immediate reporting and provide full cooperation. Also you can inquire from your insurance company if you have medical benefits in your insurance cover. More details can be got from your car/ motor insurance provider.
- SEEK MEDICAL ATTENTION. Most of the times when involved in a motor accident and you don’t see any physical injury most people assume they are fine. But then pain develops after a day or two, that’s why it’s good to seek medical attention even if the accident involved a minor impact. Make sure to tell the physician how you felt after the accident, lost consciousness were dazed. All this will help in making sure you get proper medical care.
- KEEP A FILE. Keep a detailed record of all the information that relates to the accident, claim number, contacts of people involved, police reports, medical reports receipts of rental cars and all the expenses incurred as a result of the accident.
- PROTECT YOUR RIGHTS. Make sure you protect your rights, consult with your attorney with regards to making any statements, handling of valuable evidence and on how to seek full compensation for your vehicle. Also your legal representative will help you in getting the best medical treatment.