3 Things to Do Following a Motor Vehicle Accident
Statistics show that within a five-year period, 25% of all drivers could be involved in a car accident. If you are involved in a motor vehicle accident, there are certain things you should always do. Other actions you take will depend upon who was at fault, whether the damage was minor or extreme, and whether or not anyone was injured. You will need to assess the situation and proceed wisely.
The average number of car accidents in the U.S. every year is six million. If you think it cannot happen to you, then you simply are not being cautious enough. Car accidents happen when you least expect them, as with many misfortunes. Take note of these pointers now so you can be more prepared when and if you ever get into an accident.
First, Take Care of Injuries and Damages
Never leave the scene of an accident. The first thing you need to do is to stay calm and make sure no one was hurt, regardless of who was at fault. If someone was injured, you need to call 911 immediately to get them medical attention. Never try to move a person who has been injured, unless their life is in immediate danger. Otherwise, you could make their injuries worse.
Three million people in the U.S. are injured every year in car accidents.
If any vehicles involved in the accident suffered severe damage, you should call the police. Do not try to move the damaged vehicles. The police will need to file an accident report, which will be required by your insurance company. The police report will also serve as the official report of the accident and the events that occurred directly after the accident. Typically, people involved in an accident who try to convince you not to call the police could be trying to hide something, such as the fact that they do not have car insurance.
Next, Stay Calm and Keep a Clear Head
Never engage in a dispute or shouting match, and do not admit fault to anyone. Whether you are at fault or the other party is at fault, you need to stay calm and keep a clear head. Arguing and fighting will cause a conflict where someone could get hurt, or you could say something that could be used against you later.
The best accident lawyers always advise you not to lie about your part in the accident. If the accident was your fault, you should make it a point not to say anything that could later be used against you. And, of course, never lie about your role in the incident. Not only will this cause you severe stress, as you wonder whether you will be found out, but there could also be consequences for you trying to avoid blame. Let the insurance companies and other authorities sort out what happened. That's their job; let them do it. They will talk to everyone involved and get down to the facts.
Lastly, Gather and Exchange Information
Insurance information will need to be exchanged by everyone involved in the accident, even if it wasn't your fault. If any of the other parties are reluctant to exchange insurance information, there's a good chance they are uninsured. The good news is that the police will take the same information in case there is a dispute later on.
It's always best to gather as much information from the scene of the accident as possible, especially if any of the other parties are uninsured. You will need to record:
- Everyone's name
- Phone numbers
- Driver's license numbers
- License plate numbers
- Year, make, and model of the other vehicle
- VIN, if possible
Once you tell all of the information about the accident to your insurance company, your provider and the other driver’s should work it out together, without requiring much from you other than further testimony about what happened.
Because every accident is different, you should seek advice from professionals, including mechanics, doctors, and lawyers. Always continue all medical treatments recommended by your doctor.
Vehicle accidents create legal situations that need to be handled cautiously. Consult your lawyer, do not miss the deadline for filing a lawsuit, and get a motor vehicle accident legal team in place immediately. Protect yourself, protect your rights.