There are millions of car accidents that occur every year through the U.S., but the majority of the time accident victims are caught unprepared and unsure of what to do and how to move forward. Two in three accidents are fortunately just property damage, but there are one in three where the driver or passengers sustain injuries and require medical attention. Furthermore about two in ten automobile accidents end with a fatality.
If you or a loved one is ever involved in a car accident, it is important that you know what to do in order to protect yourself and what steps to take if you were to file an injury claim. Below you will find a list of the top 10 things you should do after a car accident. These helpful tips can prepare you for the worst so you know exactly what to do in a time of crisis.
1. Stop and pull over to a safe location on the side of the road- NEVER drive away from the scene of an accident, even if it is a minor fender bender. Try and pull your car over to a safe spot out of danger from any oncoming traffic.
2. Establish the scene of the accident- In order to prevent anyone else from getting hurt; you should put on your emergency flashers. If the accident occurred at night when it is dark, put on your flashers and try to set up flares or pull out a flashlight so that people see that an accident has occurred.
3. Call 911- When any type of car accident occurs, whether someone was injured or not, it is always wise to call the police. This is beneficial because a police officer will then fill out a formal report which can act as evidence for any property and vehicle damage that you may later report to your insurance company.
4. Record the Incident by taking pictures- It is always wise to take out your phone or camera and take pictures of the accident before any physical evidence is moved or clear up completely. Take pictures not only of any property or vehicle damage but also of any injuries that you have sustained.
5. Be sure to exchange information with the other drivers and people involved- Usually the police officer will handle this but if the police do not come to the scene of the accident then the responsibility falls on you. It is vital that you get the name, address, phone number and insurance information from the other people involved.
6. Get witness testimonials- You should also collect contact information from any witnesses who saw the accident because you could call upon them for reference down the road.
7. Notify your insurance company about the accident- Insurance companies typically require that their insured inform them about an accident immediately in order to receive coverage. When you submit your accident claim be sure to ask about the types of benefits available to you and the type of coverage that you have.
8. Get medical attention following the accident- Even if you do not think you are injured, many accident victims do not feel any pain until hours or even days after the accident. If you are unsure it is better to be safe and seek medical attention.
9. Keep all files and legal documents from the accident- Be sure to keep a record all important files in case you ever need them for reference or in the event that you file an injury claim. Be sure to keep the names and phone numbers of everyone else involved and keep track of the claim number for the accident.
10. Consult an attorney to protect your rights- Having a car accident lawyer can better ensure that you receive fair compensation for any injuries or damages after an accident. It can also help you rest easy knowing that you will receive top-notch medical treatment. Attorneys are also there to give legal advice and make sure that you don't get stiffed by your insurance company.
If you or someone close to you has been involved in a motor vehicle accident of any kind, our Orange County car accident lawyer is standing by to help. Contact Gill Law Group, PC for assistance today by calling (949) 391-9121. We offer a free initial consultation!