Over six million car accidents occur in the United States each year. Here is a list of 9 things you should do if you are are involved in an accident.
Never drive away from an accident before exchanging information or calling the police. Stop your vehicle and get out.
2. Move to a safe area.
Protect yourself and check on others involved. You can prevent further accidents by moving the vehicles if possible and keeping your flashers on. Make sure no one is hurt. Call 911 if anyone is injured.
3. Call the police.
You will need an accident report to file a claim with your insurance company or the other driver’s insurance company, even if it is just a claim for damage to your vehicle. You will need an accident report when dealing with insurance companies.
4. Gather information.
Make an accurate record. It is important to determine whether anyone witnessed the accident. Tell the police exactly what happened. Do not speculate or misstate any of the facts. Make sure statements made by others are accurate. Write down as much information as possible, including the name and badge number of the responding police officer.
5. Document the scene.
Take pictures of the vehicles and anything that will accurately show what happened. Take pictures of any injuries. If you cannot take pictures at the scene of the accident, take them as soon as possible after the accident.
6. Seek medical attention.
Occasionally, injuries are not immediately apparent. You should seek medical attention at the emergency room or by seeing your family physician. You must seek medical attention within fourteen days of the accident to make a claim.
7. File your insurance claim.
Report the accident. Notify your insurance company as soon as possible.
8. Keep records.
Keep all your accident-related documents and information together. This information should include a claim number, the claim adjuster’s name, the names and phone numbers of all contacts, receipts for a rental car and other expenses incurred as a result of the accident.
9. Protect your rights.
Contact a personal injury attorney. An attorney can protect your rights and make sure valuable evidence is not destroyed. It is important that you receive legal advice before providing the insurance company with a statement.
A driver must stop after an accident and should position the vehicle in a manner that will not obstruct other motorists. You can minimize the risk of harm to yourself and others by making sure neither you nor the other parties are exposed to the danger of a second accident. If the accident is minor and nobody was injured, move the vehicles off the road if possible to avoid obstructing traffic. However, if the accident involves serious injury, death or major property damage, the cars should remain in place until law enforcement arrives.
If someone has been hurt, a driver should attempt to secure medical help right away, and a driver should remain at the scene until help arrives. Leaving the scene of a car accident is referred to as a hit-and-run and is a serious offense, especially if injury or death has occurred. Make sure everyone is ok and provide first aid is necessary, and do not move seriously injured individuals.
If you are in an accident involving an unoccupied vehicle or property other than a vehicle, you are required to notify the owner. If you cannot find the owner, you are required to attach a note to the damaged vehicle or property which contains your name, address, and license plate number. Also, report the accident to law enforcement right away.
Take pictures of the accident scene. It can be very helpful to take a few photos of the accident scene and how the cars were positioned. Having a picture of the cars showing how they were positioned immediately after the accident is often helpful in explaining how the accident occurred and who was at fault.
Get medical attention. In many cases, the injured individual does not realize they are hurt until hours or days later. Some people do not seek medical attention hoping that their symptoms will get better. Serious neck and back injuries can result, even from low impact car accidents, such as rear-end collisions. Getting prompt medical attention is important to document the injuries and establish that they were in fact, caused by the car accident.
Call 911 and the Police. You can request medical assistance if there is an injury or fatality. Calling law enforcement will provide important support in a settlement or lawsuit since law enforcement will write a report that records their assessment of who was at fault. The police record will detail all key elements of the collision including names, vehicle registration, road conditions and witness statements.
Should I contact an accident attorney?
Contact a personal injury attorney to discuss the specifics of your case and decide whether you need legal representation. A personal injury attorney can mean the difference between getting a settlement that barely covers your expenses or a settlement or verdict that pays all of your bills and allows you to get back to living your life.
If you or a loved one have been injured in a car accident and need help getting compensation for your injuries, call Tampa Personal Injury Attorney, Martin J. Hernandez of Fernandez & Hernandez at 813 229 5353.