According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there are more than 30,000 deaths and over 2 million injuries from motor vehicle crashes in the United States every year.
Here is what you can do if you find yourself in this situation.
1. Keep Safety First — If a vehicle cannot be moved and no injuries have occurred, remain in the vehicle with your seatbelt fastened until help arrives. Turn on hazard lights, and if safe to do so, place cones, flares, or warning triangles behind your vehicle.
2. Don’t leave the scene until you speak with the other driver, the police, or both. Your statements can be used against you. Contact Law Enforcement as soon as possible. If the driver cannot contact the police, he/she should ask someone nearby to do so. File an incident report. A police report often helps insurance companies speed up the claims process.
3. Exchange the following information:
- Phone Number;
- Insurance Company;
- Policy Number;
- Driver License Number;
- License plate number for the driver and the owner of each vehicle.
4. Keep a written record of:
- Description of the car;
- Exact location of the collision and how it happened.
5. Before the vehicles are moved, photograph vehicle point-of-rest at the crash scene. Take photos of paint-transfer on the vehicles, skid marks, property damage debris in the roadway, as well as any conditions at the crash scene that the other driver says might have caused or contributed to the crash like a shrub blocking the view, or a pothole in the road.
6. Eyewitness contact information — Write down all witness contact information indulging email address, phone number(s), and mailing address. Give this to the investigating officer and make sure the officer is aware of any independent, objective eye witness. Write down what the witness says he/she saw. Also look around the crash site and see if the crash might have been captured on any nearby surveillance/security cameras and ask that the business preserve the tape, if liability is disputed.
7. Seek medical attention and make sure to keep detailed records. This is important so that it is easier for you to not only make a claim on your injuries, but also to ensure that you have not sustained untreated body injury.
8. Contact an attorney and don’t discuss the case with anyone. There are many upsides to hiring a car accident attorney. The following are just some of the many benefits to having a legal counsel represent you:
- Experience with assessing claims and working with insurance companies
- Insurance companies won’t treat you fairly without a lawyer.
- They can work through much red tape involved with accidents, such as excessive paperwork and medical jargon.
- Best settlements and/or jury verdicts
9. Keep track of your expenses. This is crucial if you wish to be compensated for your medical treatments and vehicle damages.
10. Keep your attorney up to date. This ensures a smoother and more efficient process so that you can get back to living your life!