Each year, over six million car accidents happen in the U.S. If you drive, it’s almost certain that you’ll be in an accident sooner or later. When it happens, will you know what to do?
After a car crash, the most important thing to remember is to stay calm. Take a few deep breaths and collect your thoughts.
First, check to see if anyone is hurt. If so, don’t try to move them.
Next, call 911. The 911 operator will get your information and tell you whether or not to move your car. The 911 operator will notify the police and call for an ambulance if needed.
Set out reflectors or flares (if you have them) to warn other drivers. If possible, move to a safe location, out of traffic.
Get the other driver’s name and insurance information. Also, get names and phone numbers from any witnesses.
Using your cell phone, take photos of both vehicles showing the damage. Take photos of the street, showing the location of the accident. You may also want to make a video of the scene.
When the police arrive, provide your information and answer all questions as directly as possible. After giving your statement, ask the officer to read it back to you. Sometimes an officer will summarize what you said and can get it wrong.
Make sure you get the officer’s name and the accident report number. You will need this number to obtain a copy of the accident report from the police department.
Call your insurance agent or the company’s emergency claims number. Give them your information and the accident report number.
Hopefully, your insurance company will handle everything from that point. If you don’t get a timely response or feel that you’re not being treated fairly, you are always free to consult a personal injury attorney.
Do not discuss the accident with anyone at the scene other than the police. Never provide a written or recorded statement to any insurance company other than your own.
Be very leery of any settlement offer that limits your ability to recover related damages or medical bills in the future.
Even if you don’t think you’re hurt, you should be checked out by your physician. Sometimes, sprains and other injuries may not show up immediately. Seeing a physician as soon as possible will protect your rights should injuries manifest themselves later.
If you’re not at fault, the other driver’s insurance should pay for all your expenses, including repairs, rental car, medical, and lost wages. You should also receive compensation for pain and suffering due to injuries.
If you have any concerns or questions, we can help you examine your options. With 140+ years of combined experience, Johnson, Vorhees & Martucci is one of the region’s leading personal injury law firms.
Call us at (833) 600-0125 for a no-cost, no-obligation consultation.