In the USA, approximately 6 million car accidents are reported every year. Most of the crashes only result in car damage as opposed to the owners. But still, one accident out of five accidents are responsible for causing personal injuries to the driver and passengers. And two out of ten accidents result in fatal injuries or death. Therefore, it is imperative that we follow traffic laws and drive carefully on the roads. Indeed, traffic rules & regulations are established to protect citizens. It is our moral responsibility to promote awareness to ramp down the chances of major car accidents.
When you get into a car collision, there are a few steps that you must take immediately to ensure the safety of passengers, fulfill legal requirements, and start the insurance claim process. Follow the below-mentioned steps to help you guide through the process:
#1: Protect the Scene
First and foremost, you are required to protect the accident scene. It is crucial to prevent any further accidents. It is best that you immediately keep your headlights on, flashers on, or set up flares. If any misfortune happens like the night is dark and car lights are not working, then you can use a flashlight in your smartphone to keep yourself safe on the road while you wait for help. You can also leave your disabled car by the side of the road and wait on the footpath.
#2: Don’t Panic & Check for Injuries
The second step is not to panic and check yourself for injuries. If you believe that you are seriously injured, call someone for help. It is better that you don’t move at all and wait for the emergency personnel to show up. If you have not been driving alone, then you should also check on the well-being of passengers in your car. You can ask a bystander to get on the phone for emergency services. If you and your passengers are able to move, get to a sidewalk. If your car is badly crashed, leave it where it is and wait for the help.
#3: Call the Police
Whether a car accident is a minor or major collision, you should instantly call 911. The presence of police at the accident scene is essential to mitigate the afterwards risks. It is legally required to contact the police. The officers will document the accident and fill out a report. This step is needed to file an accident claim with your insurer. You can ask to get a copy of the police report to make the claiming process easy.
#4: Make Sure You Don’t Exaggerate the Facts
It is sensible on your end not to manipulate the facts while investigator officers ask you any questions. Present an accurate record so that police can make a report properly. Don’t say a word if you are uncertain or feel ambiguous about the situation. It is not a good practice to make wrong guesses and do speculations.
For instance, if a police officer asks that you are injured, but you are not sure about your medical situation, then it is wise to remain silent. If you straightforwardly say, “Yes, I’m fine.” But, you feel bruises and severe pain after a few hours of the actual collision; you can possibly lose your chances to gain maximum financial compensation for your substantial medical bills.
#5: Exchange Information
If you and your passengers are uninjured, then you must exchange necessary information with the other driver. You can exchange vital information like full name, phone number, driver’s license number, plate number. Don’t forget to check on the type, color, and model of a vehicle. Besides, note down the location of the accident. Information gathered at this time can be quite useful when you file a claim.
#6: Gather the Evidence
After you have exchanged information, it is time that you collect supporting evidence. You need to document the accident to protect yourself from any potential risk. Take photographs from the scene. Take pictures from different angles and show the damage. Note down the names and contact numbers of all the individuals involved in an accident. Get your copy of the police report. If there is any witness, note down his/her name, address, and contact number.
#7: Get Medical Help
It doesn’t matter if you and your passengers are seriously injured or not; you need to seek medical checkup after a car accident. It is important to ensure the overall well-being. If you and your passengers get any required treatment or complex surgery, then you should keep a record of medical bills, prescriptions, post-surgical checkup fees, etc. This can be beneficial for your claim. However, if you delay seeking medical treatment, you will be responsible for your own injuries.
#8: Notify Your Insurance Company
As soon as you get the chance, inform your insurance company about your car accident. It is obvious that many insurance coverage plans demand immediate reporting in case of a serious accident.
In addition, you are required to find out if your insurance plan happens to offer medical benefits. If yes, then use this to cover your pre-checkup and post-check medical dues. It is your right to claim for accident-related medical bills if you use to pay extra on your coverage. Once you have used your med pay coverage, then your private health insurance company becomes your prime insurer.
#9: Acquire Legal Assistance
You should immediately obtain legal assistance to guide you start the claiming process. While you are at the scene, you can call your lawyer and share about the accident. In case you don’t know any good personal injury attorney, you can acquire legal help from harrispersonalinjury.com. Consulting an experienced car accident attorney is significant to smoothly file an insurance claim and maximize your compensation.
#10: Keep a File
In order to protect your rights, you need to work with your car accident attorney. But most importantly, you need to maintain a record of all your accident-related documents. Keep all the significant information together. Your file must include necessary data on witnesses, insurance claim number, name of claim’s adjuster, phone number of your lawyer, medical bills, and other expenses that have been incurred due to the car collision.