Over six million car crashes happen each year in the United States. Fortunately, most of them are minor incidents, but it is important to know what steps to take in the event of any crash. When a motor vehicle collision occurs, it is common to feel disoriented, confused, or an adrenaline rush. However, even when in an altered state of mind, it is important to obtain crucial information. In order to lessen the stress of an already stressful event, it could be helpful to keep a checklist of questions to ask and phone numbers to call in your glove compartment or center console to remind yourself what to do.
If you are involved in a crash, whether it be minor or serious, take note of the steps to take to protect yourself and your legal rights.
Remain on scene: Never drive away from the scene of an incident, even if it is a minor one.
Ensure safety: If you can safely do so, relocate your vehicle to a safe location away from main roads to prevent further damage. Then if anyone is injured, immediately call the police and let them know that medical assistance is needed. Even without injury, police are often helpful in sorting out the aftermath of an auto collision, and some insurance companies will not cover an incident unless there is a police crash report.
Make an accurate record and take pictures: Let the police know exactly what happened, to your best ability. Include all details about the crash, but only stick to the facts. So, if you do not know something, do not guess. You do not want to speculate or misstate any facts. This is also the time to take pictures. A cell phone camera will do the job, and you will need pictures of the vehicles as well as any visible injuries.
“Are you injured?”: When an officer asks this, even if you do not have any obvious injuries, say that you are unsure rather than saying no. Injuries from auto crashes are not always obvious immediately after the crash. Often, neck and back pain can become apparent hours after the actual collision.
Exchange information: Although the investigating officer will get this information, you do not want to rely solely on them to obtain all the evidence. If physically able to, you want to get information from all parties involved, including bystanders. Anyone who witnessed the crash can be an important asset in building a case against the offending party. Write down contact information such as names, addresses, phone numbers, insurance, etc.
Report the accident: Notify your insurance company as soon as possible. Find out if you have personal injury protection or medical payments coverage as part of your plan. If you were not at fault for the crash, then your insurance rates will not increase as a result of submitting a claim. You pay for this coverage, so use it.
Seek medical attention: Injuries from car crashes can be delayed by hours or even days. Unless you are certain that you were not injured, you should seek medical attention. If you ever lost consciousness or became confused, this could be a sign of a concussion or other closed head injury. Even if you don’t feel “injured” if you lost consciousness or felt “dazed” immediately after a car wreck, it is best to seek help. When it comes to your health and safety, it is better to err on the side of caution and get checked out by an experienced medical professional as soon as possible.
Keep a file: Keep all crash-related documents and information together. This includes: a claim number, the claim’s adjuster who is handling the claim, names and phone numbers of all contacts, receipts for a rental car and other expenses incurred as a result of the accident.
Protect your rights: Paradowski Law is here to help you after an accident and ensure that you receive proper compensation for injury, loss of property, or lost wages. We can protect your rights and make sure valuable evidence is preserved. Often, insurance companies want to take statements immediately after an accident. It is important that you have received legal advice before providing such a statement. We can advise you on issues ranging from how to make sure you are fully compensated for your losses to how to make sure you are getting the best medical treatment for you.
If you have been hurt in a wreck, do not wait to contact Paradowski Law for a case evaluation today.