If you’ve been involved in a car accident, there are some things that you can do to protect yourself and your interests. Here’s what you need to do.
Never drive away from an accident, even a minor one.
If you drive away and you are at fault, you could be charged with much more than just the results of the accident. If you drive off and you are not at fault, you could risk not getting fairly compensated or being blamed for the accident.
Protect the Scene
Prevent furthering the damages by putting out flares or keeping your flashers on. If it’s dark, and your lights have been damaged, keep a flashlight with you while you wait in your car or by the side of the road.
Call the Police
Call the police even if there are no serious injuries. You might need a police report to file a claim with your insurance company, even if you just claim for damage to your vehicle. The cars involved should stay where they are unless they are blocking traffic.
Make an Accurate Record
When the police arrive, tell the investigating officer exactly what happened, as best you can. If you don’t know some things, tell the officer. Don’t speculate or guess any of the facts.
If the police ask if you are injured, and you’re not sure, say so, not that you aren’t. In many cases, the pain and injuries from motor vehicle accidents don’t show up until hours after the actual collision.
If you have a camera or a phone with a camera, take pictures of any visible damage or injuries. Make sure you don’t interfere with any police investigating while you do this.
Any investigating officers will obtain your information. If the police don’t attend to the accident, get the name, address, and telephone number of everyone involved in the accident, whether the driver or passenger.
Ask to see the insurance card for all vehicles in the accident. Get information from any witness so you or your attorney can contact them if need be. If police attend, note the police report number.
Report the Accident
Notify your insurance company as soon as you can. Many policies require you to report immediately. Check if you have medical benefits as part of your insurance coverage. You pay extra for this coverage, known as medpay, so use it.
If you have med pay coverage, you are required to submit all medical bills related to the accident to your insurance company. Once your med pay benefits are exhausted, private health insurance becomes your primary insurer.
Med Pay benefits are available to all the occupants of the vehicle. Your insurance rates should not increase as a result of submitting claims for med pay coverage.
Contact an Attorney
If you weren’t at fault in the accident, then you may be entitled to compensation for a collision repair, injuries, trauma, or financial losses due to damages or inability to work.
Call an auto accident lawyer to seek advice and find out whether or not you have a legitimate claim.
Seek Medical Attention
Injuries you obtain in car accidents are often not immediately apparent. Many people report feeling the most pain a day or two after the accident. Unless you are positive you weren’t hurt, get medical attention at the emergency room or from your family physician.
Even if you only suffered a minor impact, you can still sustain a serious and permanent injury to your spinal cord. If you lost consciousness or were dazed after the collision, you might have suffered a concussion or closed head injury.