No matter where you’re driving, how fast you’re going or how safe you are on the road, there’s always the potential for an accident to occur.
The odds of dying in a car accident are relatively low (1 in 645), but the odds of never being in a car accident are not. In fact, the average person experiences three or four car accidents in their lifetime. Even if you’re involved in a non-fatal car accident, there’s potential for so many other consequences: life-threatening injuries, loss of wages and benefits and high medical costs.
Being in a car accident can be a harrowing experience that can leave you feeling scatterbrained. More than likely you’ll be scared and have a million things running through your mind. If you have been involved in a car accident, here are six important steps you need to know:
- Move your car and get out: Assuming it’s safe to do so, get your car to a safe area where it won’t be susceptible to further damage. A good thing to do is to put your hazard lights on. Once you’ve moved your car, get out of it. Turn the car off and move to a safe place out of the way.
- Check on others: If you’re car accident involves another car, be sure to check on the passengers of that car to make sure they’re alright. If the accident occurs in a highly trafficked area, check the surrounding area to make sure bystanders weren’t hurt. If someone is hurt, call 911 to the scene so they can get medical attention.
- Call the police: Whether you’re involved in a minor car accident or a major one, the police need to be called. A police report is essential when making car accident claims with an insurance company. When the police arrive, be respectful and cooperate, making sure not to blame others or admits fault. When it comes to who’s at fault, let the police make that decision.
- Get information: When it comes to making car accident claims, you’ll need to provide your insurance company with as much information as possible. After a car accident, you’ll need to get:
- Names of the driver and passengers in the other car(s)
- License plate information plus the make and model of other cars
- Insurance information from the other driver(s)
- Contact information for the police officer who responded to the accident
- The location where the accident occurred
- Take some photos: Another thing that can help with car accident claims is to document the scene. That means taking some pictures to show the insurance company.
- File a claim: Once you’ve got all the pertinent information, you can go to your insurance company and file a car accident claim. Once car accident claims are reported, they are then assigned to a specialist who will work through your case. This specialist, also called an adjuster, will look into the accident and ultimately help you settle your claim. An adjuster can also point you to collision shops or garages with if you need car repair and help with arrangements for a rental car, if that’s part of your insurance policy.
If you’re been involved in a particular serious car accident and are facing some ongoing medical issues, you might benefit from hiring a personal injury attorney. Personal injuries attorneys will:
- Know Your Worth: Many people involved in car accidents are unsure of how much money they can get if they have a strong personal injury case. An attorney can give you a pretty good estimate.
- Give You Leverage: More than 90% of all personal injury cases are settled pretrial and insurance companies might be motivated to settle earlier and fairer if you’ve got an attorney.
- Be motivated: Legal advice isn’t free, but attorneys don’t get paid until there is a settlement. With that in mind, an attorney will be motivated to help.
- Know the Process: Personal injury lawyers know the legal process and can help you file paperwork, complete important forms and give you legal advice.
There were more than 200 million licensed drivers in the United States and with so many drivers, the probability for a car accident increases. If you’ve been involved in an accident, stay calm, call the police and gather the necessary information to help with an insurance claim.