Did you now that there are over 6 million car accidents in the United States each year? Not only that, 1 in 3 of these accidents involve injury to the driver or passengers, and 2 out of 10 involves fatalities.
Given these shocking figures, it’s surprising to learn that not everyone knows what to do after a minor car accident. But there are things you can do to help protect yourself and your interests.
Let’s take a look at a few.
Wondering What to Do After a Minor Car Accident? Here’s a Checklist
Even if nobody is hurt, the next steps you take are important. Here’s a post-accident checklist to help.
The first thing to remember when you are involved in a wreck is to never leave the scene of an accident. Even if it appears minor and no one seems to be hurt, leave everything as is until the police arrive.
Protect the Scene of the Accident
You need to protect the scene as best you can until the police arrive so that they can get an understanding of what happened for the police report, as well as accurately note who was at fault for traffic citations and for insurance purposes.
Keep your flashers and lights on. Then wait in your car, or stand by the side of the road. If it’s dark out, keep a flashlight with you if possible and set out road flares.
Call the Police
You should always call the police immediately, even if it looks like there might be no serious injuries. Police officers will need to fill out an accident report, and this report will then be used when filing your insurance claim.
Remember, it’s very important to never move any vehicles involved in the accident until the police have arrived.
Make Note of Exactly What Happened
Once the police have arrived on the scene, you will need to provide a statement of exactly what happened. It’s important to be as detailed as possible, but don’t speculate.
Pay close attention to any pain or injuries you might have, and be aware that many injuries might not become apparent until hours or even days following the collision.
While you’re at the scene, pay attention to what the other person is telling the police to be sure their description of events is accurate.
Take Photos of the Accident Scene
Use a camera or your phone to take photos of the scene. Photographic evidence could be very important if there should be any legal repercussions or any issues with insurance claims.
Also, take photos of any injuries as soon as possible immediately following the accident.
Exchange Info with the Other Driver
Make sure everyone exchanges contact info at the scene.
Part of police procedure is to make sure the parties involved have each other’s information, but they do not always respond to an accident call. If this is the case, make sure to get the names, addresses, and phone numbers of all persons involved.
Call Your Insurance Company
Try to contact your insurance company at the scene of the accident and let me know if the other party failed to yield. Ask them exactly what your policy covers, including any medical benefits. They will be able to provide detailed advice on what to do after a minor car accident.
Seek Medical Attention
Another part of knowing what to do after a minor car accident is to seek proper medical attention.
Whenever you are involved in a motor vehicle accident, it can be scary, and with the excitement comes a rush of adrenaline that might temporarily delay the pain reaction to many injuries.
Days could pass before you realize you’ve been injured at all. Pay close attention to any stiffness or soreness, and keep detailed notes of whatever discomfort you might be experiencing.
It’s not uncommon for serious injuries to not be immediately noticed. People frequently sustain serious and even permanent injuries as a result of seemingly minor accidents. If you begin noticing pain, go to the emergency room immediately, or visit your doctor as soon as possible.
Keep Good Records
It’s a great idea to keep a file with all documentation related to the accident. Insurance paperwork, a copy of the police report, photos of the accident, as well as any documents regarding medical treatment you’ve received.
Keep a record of names and phone numbers, including the claims adjuster handling the case, the contact info of the other person involved, as well as rental car receipts and other expenses you’ve accumulated.
Protect Your Legal Rights
One of the most important things to do immediately following the accident is to get in touch with a good auto accident attorney. Motor vehicle accidents can have many complications, involving numerous people and insurance companies.
A skilled attorney will know how to protect your rights, and keep you from getting bullied by any of the parties involved. There are many factors to take into account, and they will know how to make sure you are fully compensated.
Remember, most personal injury lawyers work on a contingency fee basis, so they won’t be paid until you’ve been fully compensated for your injuries and for damage to your property.
Things to do Before an Accident
We recommend packing a safety kit, with a flashlight, road flares, water, jumper cables and blankets. You never know what kind of weather conditions you’ll find yourself in at the time of an accident.
Be sure to have your phone charged when you leave the house, this way you won’t be low on battery when an emergency arises. Otherwise, play it safe and consider getting a car battery replacement instead. And make certain you have all proper documentation such as insurance cards, health plan, and vehicle registration at the ready in the glove box.
The more you are prepared for what to do after a minor car accident, the less stressful the experience will be.
The reality of life is that accidents happen, but by paying attention, and keeping track of important details, you’ll be better prepared to protect yourself and your loved ones.
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