There are over 6 million accidents each year in the United States. Most involve property damage (damage to vehicles) instead of occupants, fortunately! However, one in three accidents in
volve personal injury to the occupants of the vehicles. After you’ve been involve in an accident there are important steps to take to protect yourself and your interests.
Below is a list of the top 9 things to do after being involved in an accident.
- Stop! Never drive away from the scene of an accident. Even if you think it is minor.
- Protect the scene. If you have access to flares, set them up to reduce the chances of further damage by other vehicles or turn your flashers on to warn the other drivers on the road.
- Call the Police. Whether there are serious injuries or not, it is a good idea to call the police. You may need a police report to file a claim for damage to the vehicle.
- Make an accurate record. Be sure to tell the investigating officer exactly what happened. If you are having a hard time recalling specific events, tell the officer. Do not speculate or assume. If the officer asks if you are injured and you’re not sure, say that as injuries can take up to a few hours to appear due to the adrenaline from the accident.
- Take pictures. Take your own pictures of the accident scene. This can be done on you phone camera. In no way should you interfere with the on-going police investigation of the vehicles. If you have visible injuries, photograph those as well.
- Exchange information. Exchange information with the other party in the accident. Usually the investigating officer will do this but in case they have not arrived or they do not, make sure to do this on your own. Obtain the name, address, telephone number, and insurance information. In the case that there are witnesses at the scene, try getting their information as well.
- Report the accident. Report the accident to your insurance company. Some insurance companies require immediate reporting. Plus, once you report the accident they can begin filing the claim to make it easier when you get an estimate for the damage to the vehicle.
- Seek medical attention. Although most report not feeling pain until two to three days after the accident, it is important to see your physician or visit the emergency room. Even in minor accidents, you could suffer from damage.
- Keep a file. Keep the photos you took of the damage, your injuries, and statements made to officers. You will also want to keep the claim number, adjusters name and phone number, and names and phone numbers of all other contacts during your accident and claim process together.
We know the reality of accidents and how stressful they can be. Following and obtaining the information listed will help ease the process from beginning to end.