Unfortunately, chances are you will be in one. Experts estimate, on average, drivers will experience a car accident every 18 years, so most folks will have multiple car accidents in their lifetime even if they are only minor. With those odds, it is time you brush up on what to do, and just as importantly, what not to do following an accident. And, because accidents tend to shake us up, we recommend you print this post to keep in your glove box, so that you can easily reference it if you need to do so.
- Above all else, make sure you and anyone else involved in the accident is physically OK. If there is any doubt whatsoever, call 911 for emergency medical personnel.
- Report the accident to the police using either 911 or the non-emergency number depending upon the severity of the situation.
- Try to remain calm. Take a deep breath. Control your emotions and do not lose your temper.
- Turn on your hazard lights if you are able to do so.
- Again, depending upon the circumstances, you may need move to a place of safety until the police and other emergency personnel arrive.
We suggest you also do the following if you are physically able to do so:
- Notify a family member or friend that you have been involved in a wreck. If your car is not drive-able, you will need a ride. If you are injured, you need someone to know where you are and they may also need to assist the medical professionals. Specifically, for folks that take a lot of medications, it can be hard to remember dosages and names of medications. If someone can bring those medicines to the hospital, it can greatly assist medical personnel. On that point, consider keeping in your glove box with your registration or in your wallet an up-to-date In Case of Emergency card that details both your medical history and current medications complete with dosages. Alternatively, you can buy an In Case of Emergency USB key ring where you can record all that data to make it easier for medical personnel to treat you properly.
- Exchange contact and insurance information with the other driver and any passengers.
- Collect information. Get the names and contact information for any witnesses. Be sure to write down the name and badge number of the police officer(s) that respond to the accident.
- Take photographs. You should photograph all of the cars involved in the accident. You should also photograph the overall scene of the accident especially if something at the scene contributed to the accident. For instance, if overgrown shrubbery blocked a driver’s view, document that vantage point with a photograph.
- Do not discuss fault for the accident with anyone. After checking to make sure everyone is OK, simply wait for the police. The big insurance companies tell drivers the same thing. In fact, on State Farm’s website, it reminds its insureds “don’t tell anyone the accident was your fault even if you think it was”. Allstate and others give similar advice. There is a simple reason for this: the law decides who is at fault for an accident and until all the facts are known it is best to let others sort out that issue.
- Notify your insurance carrier promptly. The failure to do so could result in a denial of coverage.
- If you have serious injuries, contact us for a free consultation. We will answer your questions and, if you hire us, we will do all the necessary work at no out-of-pocket cost to you. We handle all accident cases on a contingency basis, so we only get paid if we recover money for you. And statistics show that injury victims who hire a lawyer receive 3X the compensation than those without a lawyer.
For quick assistance, call our award-winning lawyers are one of the numbers below: