There are 6 million car crashes per year in the US. That’s more than 16,000 car crashes per day. Because so many drivers are involved in accidents every day, it’s good to know what to do after a car accident.
Check for Injuries
The first thing you should do after any car accident, whether it’s a fender-bender or a severe crash, is to check yourself for injuries. Identify any immediate pain points or tears in your clothing. If you see blood, you should call 911.
Call for Help
If the cars need to be moved from the road, you should call 911. Driving damaged vehicles through traffic, especially highways, puts everyone in danger, including the dozens of innocent motorists passing by. You should also call the police if there appears to more than $1,000 worth of damages.
Even if the damage is minimal, many attorneys recommend getting a police officer on the scene. The officer will file an objective, unbiased report based on the testimony of both drivers and the damage to the vehicles. This will be invaluable in demonstrating an accident and verifying the other driver’s information.
Meet the Driver
Many drivers have some anxiety about meeting the person who crashed into them. However, you are required to meet the other driver and exchange information. Try to remain calm and focus on the exchange, rather than discussing the details of the crash. If you say too much, the driver may try to use your words against you in the police report.
Once you’ve met with the other driver, you need to exchange and copy insurance information. If you’re concerned about contamination, consider texting them a picture of your information. Not only will it ensure that the information is accurate, but it will help you verify their phone number on the spot.
After exchanging insurance information, you should make an effort to get pictures of the scene. Most drivers take a picture of the damage to their own vehicle, but that’s not enough.
You should try to get a picture of all four sides of your vehicle, all four sides of the other driver’s car, and of the surrounding area. Having more pictures makes it easier for the insurance company’s analysts to determine who was at fault in the accident.
Go to the Doctor
Go to the doctor immediately after leaving the crash site. The sooner you can go, the better. If you don’t go to the doctor within 48 hours of the accident, the insurance companies may argue your injury was not severe enough to warrant immediate treatment.
File an Insurance Claim
After visiting the doctor, you must meet your obligation to file an insurance claim. Most insurance policies require that you file a claim within 24 hours of the crash.
Call your insurance company and inform them that you were involved in an accident. Provide the information you collected but avoid discussing the details of a crash.
Politely refuse a recorded statement unless your attorney is present. If the other driver’s insurance attempts to contact you, politely decline. You have no obligation to speak to them.
Speak to an Attorney
After everything else, you should seek out a personal injury attorney with experience in handling car accidents. People who hire an attorney more likely to receive a settlement to cover their damages and injuries. Additionally, people who hire an attorney typically receive 3.5x more compensation than those who allow their insurance to handle everything.
If you or someone you love suffered serious injuries in a car accident, you might have a case. If you’d like an experienced Geneva car accident attorney from Turner & Sackett LLC to evaluate your case, please send us an email or call (800) 653-0198.