No one wants to think about being in a car accident. However, every single year there are six million car accidents in the United States. This means that there is a chance that you will be in at least one automobile accident in your life.
Thankfully, the vast majority of car accidents only involve damaged property. However, sometimes there are injuries and even fatalities. Often, you need to make split-second decisions in the aftermath of an accident. Here are a few pointers to remember if you are in a car accident.
Protect Yourself and the Scene
In the aftermath of a car accident, your adrenaline will be running high. If you are at fault, your initial reaction may be to get out of there as quickly as possible. Ignore that feeling.
Never drive away from a car accident. Even if it is a minor accident, don’t drive away. Besides being the morally correct thing, staying at the scene of a car accident is also your legal responsibility.
Car accidents can lead to further car accidents if the scene is not protected. Keep your flashers on if you can. If not, put up flares to warn other people about the accident. Use a flashlight to keep yourself safe while you wait for law enforcement.
Call the police. It doesn’t matter if there are no serious injuries. Police reports can help you file claims with your insurance. Vehicles involved in an accident should stay put unless they are stopping traffic.
Just about everyone has a cell phone in their pocket. Use your phone to take pictures and videos of the scene. When the police arrive, tell them everything that happened to your best recollection.
Don’t guess, don’t exaggerate, and don’t lie. You want the police officer to be recording everything.
If an officer asks you if you are injured, it is always best to say you are not sure as opposed to no. This is because many injuries do not show themselves until days after the accident. Remember, at the moment of the accident, your adrenaline is high. Once your adrenaline dies down, you may start to feel pain.
Make Plans to Repair Your Vehicle
Whether or not you are at fault, your insurance company will probably play a role in repairing your damaged vehicle. Exchange insurance information, phone numbers, and the names of everyone involved in the accident.
It is best to have a local auto repair shop help you. If the accident happens in Austin, Texas, you likely have an auto repair shop Austin TX do the work. You want to notify your insurance company quickly about the accident. Most policies require that you immediately report the accident and that you fully cooperate with the insurance company.
Get Needed Medical Care
You may have medical coverage in your insurance policy. This type of coverage is called med pay. If you have it, use it because you are paying for it.
Once those benefits are exhausted, then your private insurance company will become your primary insurer.
Many injuries from accidents are not noticeable immediately. It is recommended that if you are in a serious accident, you visit a doctor and have them check you out. You can take immediate steps to address any injuries you may have sustained.
Even minor accidents can lead to serious and permanent injuries in your spinal cord. If because of the accident you lose consciousness or you are dazed even for a small amount of time, you may have sustained a serious head injury that can cause cognitive and behavioral changes if not addressed.
Consider Talking to an Attorney
In the aftermath of an accident, consult an attorney. An attorney can help you protect your rights and make sure that valuable evidence that could help you get financial compensation is not lost. Insurance companies have a team of lawyers working for them, so it is important that you take the steps needed to protect your rights.
No one wants to get in a car accident. However, they are an unfortunate part of modern life. By taking the right steps in the moments after an accident, you can protect your rights and protect those who are around you.
Amy Sloane is an alum of Oregon State University where she studied marketing and business. She spends her free time writing and is a knitting enthusiast. Amy loves reading, cooking, and spending time with her dog, Molly. Follow her on Twitter to read her latest blogs! @AmySloane2