According to the NHTSA, over 6 million driving accidents happen each year in the United States.
Unfortunately, a car accident is almost a fact of life. It can happen to anyone, at any time and place, even to the most careful and defensive-minded motorist. When it happens to you, whether it’s a minor fender bender or a more severe crash, the question is, are you ready?
In the moments after an automobile accident, you’re most likely to be pretty shaken up to think clearly. It’s easy to make mistakes that may put your life in shambles, whether you caused the collision or not. You may lose your chance to get compensation from car insurance companies or even get blamed for the whole thing.
To help protect your rights, here’s a guide on what to do after an accident on the road.
Keep Calm and Focus on Safety First
While it’s hard to keep a cool head after a nerve-wracking experience, it’s vital to try to remain calm. More than anything, you should prioritize the safety and health of everyone involved in the accident.
Check yourself and others for injuries. Immediately call 911 or ask someone else to do so if anyone appears to be hurt.
If it’s possible, move your car over to the shoulder and set up cones or warning triangles if you have them. Otherwise, turning on your hazard lights is sufficient to warn approaching vehicles.
Always remember that people’s lives and safety trump any financial considerations.
Report the Car Accident to the Police
Even if the accident is minor, you should still call law enforcement. They can create a report of the accident, and you can request a copy from the police department. The police report can be a big help if you decide to file a claim or if the case ends up in court.
Once you’ve ensured the safety of the parties involved, it’s time to gather facts about what happened. Take photos of the vehicles, including their position and the damage to each, at the scene of the accident.
Approach the other drivers to exchange contact and insurance information. Make sure to get their name, address, phone number, license number, insurance policy number, and the make and model of their cars. While talking to the other parties, never admit fault or apologize, as it can be used against you if the case goes to court.
If you decide to pursue legal action, these measures can help your personal injury lawyer to represent you with competence.
Contact Your Insurance Provider as Soon as Possible
If you decide to file a claim, you should call your insurance company immediately after the accident. You can start the claim process at the scene and offer any details that are still fresh in your memory. When things get calmer, you can provide documentation and other information that your insurer requires.
Are You Prepared?
While you never wish for a car accident to happen, it’s always best to be prepared if it does happen. Instead of making mistakes that can have tremendous consequences, knowing what to do can help protect your rights.
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