Throughout the U.S., over 6 million car accidents are reported to the police each year. It is likely you will personally be involved in a car accident as a driver or passenger at some time in your life. If you are, here is a simple, 5 Step Action Plan compiled from information provided by the Automobile Association and Consumer Protection Association of America to help you stay calm and know what to do in that stressful time just after the accident. You should read it now, and print a copy to keep in your glove compartment.
1. Determine the Extent Of Injuries and Damages.
After an accident, it is important that you remain calm and first assess the extent of injuries. If you are in the middle of a busy street or intersection, it is often safer to move your car to the side of the road. If unable to move your car, turn on the hazard lights, place warning triangles or flares if it is possible to do so safely. Be extremely cautious about getting out and walking on busy streets in a state of shock, as this often causes additional accidents or injuries. If anyone appears injured, call immediately for emergency medical assistance.
2. Emergency Info Kit.
You should keep an emergency info kit in your glove compartment with pen/paper to take notes, a disposable camera (or use a cell phone camera) to take photos of the vehicles at the accident scene, a list of your allergies or special medical conditions, and a fill-in-the-blank accident information form card. Do not rely on the police to submit a report; often it is up to you to document and present your version of what happened.
3. Exchange Information.
Following the accident, you are required to exchange the following information with the other drivers involved: name, address, telephone number, insurance company (name/policy #), driver’s license, license plate. Also, for your own personal records, be sure to write down a description of the color, model, make of the other cars involved, and the exact location of the accident, which direction all the cars were heading and how it happened. Additionally, if there were any witnesses, obtain their contact information, as they may be able to help you if they support your version of the events. DO NOT tell anyone, including the police, that the accident was your fault even if you think it was.
4. Photograph and Document Accident.
From a safe location, use your camera to photograph the location of the cars involved and the exact extent of damage to all the cars.
5. File an Accident Report.
You should file a state vehicle accident report (forms for which can be downloaded at state department of motor vehicle website or obtained from your insurance company), and you should immediately inform your insurance company.
If you or your loved one incurred serious injuries in a car accident, and you have any further questions about what to do to protect your rights or how to recover the compensation you deserve for your injuries, please contact JD Law Group for a free consultation at 888-736-4248 or fill out the contact form located to the right of this page.