More than six million car accidents happen in the United States every year. 33% of those car accidents cause injury to the driver and/or their passengers, 10% of crashes are fatal,killing over 1 million people.
There are many different types of accidents. The most common accidents include rear-end collisions and t-bone wrecks, followed up by other types such as sideswipe, single and multiple vehicle collisions. Some wrecks, such as head-on collisions, only make up about 2% of all wrecks but 30% of all fatalities and can have far-reaching consequences for all involved.
Knowing what to do after experiencing an accident, therefore, is of vital importance. In this article, we’re going to provide a step by step list that you can print out and follow.
Step 1 – Stop
Even if the accident is minor, you should never drive away from the scene of the crime.
Step 2 – Keep the Scene Protected
If it is safe for you to do so, you should try and protect the scene. This can include putting your emergency lights on, setting up flares, or placing cones around the vehicle. In the dark, try and use a flashlight to warn other drivers of the accident until the emergency services arrive.
Step 3 – Call The Police
This tip is important whether the accident is minor or major. Your insurance company may require you to file a police complaint form, in order to claim for the damage to your vehicle. The vehicles involved in the accident should remain in the same position as they were in during the accident unless staying put could lead to further accidents.
Step 4 – Give an Accurate Statement
When the emergency services arrive, ensure you tell them exactly what happened to the best of your ability. Take photos of the scene of the crime, and do not lie. Do not guess what happened, do not make up facts, and do not speculate. If you are asked whether you have any injuries and are unsure, let the police know this. If possible, ensure any statements from the other parties are accurate as well.
Step 5 – Exchange Information
Sometimes the police will help you to exchange information with the other party, however, if they don’t you will need to take the initiative and do this yourself. Take the name, telephone number and address of the other party as your insurance company will require it. If you are provided with an incident number, keep this safe too.
Step 6 – Phone Your Insurance Company and a Lawyer
With all the above information to hand, your next step is to contact your insurance company and a lawyer. Do not speak to the other party’s insurance without speaking to your own insurance company and a lawyer first. You will need to provide all the information you collected above and repeat your version of the events.
Step 7 – Seek Medical Attention
For minor injuries, you should now be ready to seek medical attention. Depending on the severity of the crash, you may need to move this step higher on the list. Make sure to keep a note of the treatment you receive and the bills you receive.
We hope you won’t ever need to use the above checklist, but if you do, it is wise to keep it safe so you know what to do.