August 20 2019 - As nearly half a million drivers are on the road driving distracted every day, it's no surprise that there are thousands of accidents daily. When you're suffering from an auto accident injury because of someone else's negligence, you need to know what to do. Following the right steps ensures that no further damage is done and that you're able to take advantage of what insurance offers as assistance.
Here are six things you have to do after you're involved in a collision.
1. Stop and Prevent More Trouble
If you're able to get out of your car, pull to the side and get out of the vehicle safely to the side of the road in whatever way is safest. Even in a minor accident, you need to stop and keep more damage from being done.
Even a small accident can cause more mayhem on the road if you're not careful.
Protect the scene by setting up flares and keeping everyone's flashers on. If that's not an option, use a flashlight to keep everyone safe in the disabled car. You need to remain visible to cars that are oncoming in whatever way possible.
2. Call 911
Even when there are no major injuries, it's important to file a report. Calling 911, tell them if there are no injuries and they'll send police ahead of other first responders.
The police report is going to be important for when you have to file a claim with your insurance. It's much easier to get damage to your vehicle fixed when you have official information.
Make sure vehicles are out of traffic in the meantime.
3. Make Your Account
When officers arrive, you'll be asked to tell them what happened. Stick to the facts you know and don't bother with speculation.
Add details that help paint the picture. If you had a blinker on, if you were approaching a slowdown, if the other drivers didn't use a signal, all of these things matter.
Don't misstate anything related to the accident. You could say the wrong thing and make it harder for either of you to get the compensation you deserve.
If you're asked whether you're injured and you're not sure, say you're not sure. Saying no and then claiming later that you are could make it harder to get compensation. You want to be as clear and honest as possible so that you can make an accurate claim.
4. Take Your Own Photos
If you have a camera on your phone or in your car, it's time to turn into a photographer. Get as many photos as you can from the scene, of the vehicles, where they were damaged, and whatever injuries you might have.
If there's clearly a blind turn or anything strange about the traffic pattern, take photos of it now. It might be changed in a day or so. it also helps to put the crash in context if you have to end up in court for any reason.
Don't interfere with police investigations, however. Sometimes you might not be able to take photos at the scene of the accident. If that's the case, take photos as soon as possible following the investigation and photos that the police are taking.
Your insurance company is going to want to see your images and you can make a stronger case when you have your own photos.
5. Exchange Info and Contact Insurance
When you're in an accident with someone else, exchange information with them. You can do this before the officer comes but they'll usually collect this information as well. You need the name, address, and phone number of the person you got into an accident with to make your claim.
Get their insurance information. If there are witnesses, ask them for their contact information as well. They can help you make a proper claim later on.
Get the police report number so that you can get all of the information that police collect later on. If you're on a state highway, state police will be the ones who hold the report.
Now it's time to contact your insurance company. Make an immediate report and offer full cooperation. if you have medical benefits as part of your insurance, you may be able to cover accident-related medical bills.
If you were in the car with anyone else, they might be able to have their injuries covered by the same insurance plan.
6. Get Medical Help
The injuries suffered in a car accident don't always appear right away. It might take a day or two before you notice anything. Rather than waiting, you need to get medical attention ASAP.
Damage and injuries will appear on medical scans and x-rays before you notice what's happening.
For drivers or passengers who are sure that they're not injured, it's important to still go to the doctor. Visiting your primary care physician allows you to get looked at in a place where you feel comfortable with someone who knows your body. If something is upset or has changed due to the accident, they'll know.
If you have a severe head or brain injury, you might notice behavioral changes over time. When this happens, you might need significant rehab, which is covered in most plans.
If you were struck by a truck, check out this guide to learn more about your rights.
No Auto Accident Injury Should Go Untreated
When you're suffering an auto accident injury you need to have it treated. Waiting could exacerbate problems or lead to a whole different set of issues.
If you're interested in other ways to protect yourself once you go back to work after an injury, check out our human resources guides