Maybe when self-driving care arrive things will change. But, for now, car accidents are pretty common occurrences. In fact, there are over 6 million accidents on US roads each year.
Even with them being so common, a lot of people still don’t know what to do when they get in an accident. Knowing what to do after an accident is very important. Because not doing the right things/doing the wrong things can cost you – time, money and negatively impact your health.
So, in order to protect your best interest, it pays to know what to do/what not to do after an accident. In this article, we have some of the simple, basic things you should do if you get in a car accident.
1. Stay Put
The first thing you must do is to stop the car and remain at the site of the accident until the police arrive. Seems obvious. Yet some people decide to drive away from the accident scene. Bad idea!
The law requires that you stop… even when you think you have not been injured or the damage is minor. If you flee the scene of an accident, you’re just going to make things worse for yourself so you should stay put.
2. Don’t Admit Responsibility
Remember you have a contract with your insurance company. And one of the terms in the contract is that you should never assume liability or responsibility. Call the police because you will need their report when filing for a claim from your insurer. But don’t make any potentially incriminating statements that can come back to bite you on the butt.
3. Protect the Scene of the Accident
Turn on your flasher lights on and set up flares around the scene of the accident to help prevent further accidents. In situations where the car’s flashlights are not working and it is dark, place flashlights on your car.
Don’t sit and wait inside your disabled car. If you are waiting for the police, do it on the side of the road. The cars involved in the accident should remain where they are after the accident unless they are interfering with the traffic.
4. Give an Accurate Account of the Accident
Ensure that you tell the police exactly what happened or what led to the accident. It is important that you try to be as accurate as possible. If you are not sure of certain facts, you’re better off not sharing them (see #2 above).
Also, you must avoid speculating on facts. For instance, if the police ask whether you were injured or not, tell them you are not sure. Don’t say you No because the pain from car accidents will be felt hours or days after the accident. Listen to the statement the other party will be telling and ensure that it is accurate.
5. Take Pictures
Immediately an accident occurs, take pictures of the accident scene. More emphasis should be placed on any visible damage. If you sustained visible injuries, photograph them. If you can’t take the photos then you can ask for help from people around there or take them as soon as you are able. Share any pictures you took with the police. It can help them when preparing their report.
6. Inform Your Insurance
The insurance company must be notified about the accident as soon as possible. If your coverage includes paying for the medical expenses, submit accident-related bills as soon as you can. Also, remember to submit the details of other occupants of your car because they may also entitled to medical benefits.
7. Seek Medical Attention
Even in cases where injuries are not apparent, seek medical attention because injuries from car accidents may become apparent after hours or even days. Also, you will need a doctor’s report when making claims.
8. Keep Your Documents in Order
Keep all the documents related to your car accident – including the report from the police – in a file. Also, make sure you have names of all those involved in the accident, all related receipts – including rental car receipts and receipts for any other expense incurred while in the hospital.
9. Talk to an Attorney
Lastly, talk to a car accident attorney so that they advise you on how you can get compensated. A good attorney will also protect you from getting taken advantage of by the insurance companies involved in your case. Better to do get in touch with an accident attorney sooner rather than later so they can guide you through the process, be your advocate and help you get the highest amount of compensation possible.