Over six million car accidents happen every year in the United States. Fortunately, a good portion of them involves only property damage – damage to the car as opposed to the driver or passengers. But one in three accidents has a personal injury to the passengers or to the driver and two out of every ten accidents can lead to serious injuries.
If you have been involved in a vehicle accident recently, there are some things you can and need to do to protect yourself and your interests. Here is a list of some of the first things you need to do after a car accident.
Never drive away from a scene of an accident, no matter whether it was a minor or a big one.
2. Protect the scene
You can prevent any further accidents from happening by activating your blinkers/flashers on or by setting up flares and signs. If it is dark and your lights stopped working, you should keep flashing in your car to keep you safe while you wait in your disabled vehicle or be the side of the road.
3. Call the Police
Even if there have been no serious injuries, it is a smart idea to call the police. You may need to file a police report or a claim with your insurance company, even if it is just to make a claim for damage to your car. The cars that were involved in the accident should remain exactly where they are unless they block or interfere with traffic.
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4. Make a Record
When the police get to the scene of the accident, make sure that you tell the investigating officer exactly what happened. If you are unsure about some things, tell that to the office too. Do not guess, misstate or speculate any of the facts. If you are asked if you have been injured and you aren’t sure, say you are not sure, rather than just no. Often, the injuries and pain from a vehicle accident can become apparent a couple of hours after the collision. You should also make sure that the statements from the other participants in the accident are accurate too.
5. Take pictures or videos
If you happen to have a phone with you or in your vehicle (you probably do), you should take pictures of the cars if there is any visible damage or tire marks. If you have any visible injuries or on the others that were with you, you should photograph them as well. However, make sure that you do not interfere with the official police investigation. If you can’t take the pictures at the scene of the accident, make sure to take them as soon as possible after the investigation.
6. Exchange information
If the police do not respond to the accident, you should obtain the telephone number, address, and name of all the people that were involved in the accident, passengers and drivers alike. You should also obtain information about their insurance. If there are any witnesses to the incident, you should also ask for their information too, if you can.