Each year around 1.25 million fatalities are reported from automobile accidents all over the world. About 37,000 of those fatalities occur in the United States. It’s a staggering statistic. Another 2.35 people are injured in car accidents in the United States. Have you been in one yourself? It’s a scary thought, but you chances are you know someone who has been in a serious auto accident, and you should know what to do if you’re in one yourself.
- Call 911. If anyone was injured in the car accident, then you need to immediately alert to appropriate authorities. Even if everyone seems to be okay, call the police. Some people report injuries a few days after the fact, and it can be difficult to prove or dispute these claims when insurance adjusters and lawyers are subsequently notified.
This is important: never admit fault for an accident, even if you think you’re accountable.
- Photograph the Scene. Be sure to take pictures of any damage done to any vehicles involved in the crash. If you were hurt, photograph your own injuries. Be wary of photographing other people or victims, even if you have permission.
- Obtain Documentation. Stress can make us forgetful, but be sure to obtain all the relevant information from other drivers involved in the accident: insurance, make and model of all vehicles, vehicle identification numbers (VIN), license plate numbers, names, email addresses, phone numbers, etc. In addition, try to get contact information from pedestrians or other drivers who witnessed the accident. Your legal representation may find this information useful.
- Obtain Treatment. See a doctor as soon as possible after an accident, and be sure to mention any pain you might be feeling. If your symptoms change in one or two days, then it may be beneficial to make a repeat visit. Meticulously document your injuries by keeping medical records, photographs, and bills in a folder. It may be helpful to keep a journal detailing your thoughts, feelings, and pain management during your recovery.
- Contact Insurance Providers. Be as honest as you can with insurance adjusters, but do not admit fault. Many insurance adjusters will urge you to call from the scene of the accident if possible, or even to let police provide details of the accident directly after it happens, but avoid making this mistake. You can’t provide them with information you don’t have. If you feel uncomfortable speaking with insurance providers about the accident, then wait until after you obtain counsel.
- Find Legal Representation. A qualified and experienced lawyer can help reduce stress after a bad accident by guiding you through all the nuances of the applicable laws. If you are entitled to compensation from your insurance adjuster or from someone who may have been at fault in a car accident, then your legal representation will help you obtain it. If someone is blaming your for causing a car accident, then you need a proper defense.