Posted By Karsman, McKenzie & Hart || 13-May-2016
Car accidents happen every day and can result in injuries, property damage, and even death. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that 2.34 million people in the United States were injured in automobile accidents during 2014 alone. If you are involved in accident, it important to have a plan of action for dealing with other drivers and the police. The following is a list of seven things to do if you are in a car accident.
- Stop and Pull Over: The moment that you are in an accident, find a safe place to pull over and remain at the scene. If you leave before interacting with other involved parties or the police, you may incur a hit-and-run charge. This can have serious criminal consequences, even for a minor accident.
- Asses the Health of Drivers and Passengers: Examine yourself and any passengers for injures and get medical treatment if needed. If someone has experienced serious trauma, such as a neck or back injury, do not move them. Moving a person with a serious injury can cause them further harm. Instead, you should wait for paramedics to arrive.
- Call the Police: Even for accidents that do not result in serious injury, it is important to get the police involved. Filing a police report can assist with insurance claims by validating the accuracy of information regarding an accident. When talking to law enforcement, avoid speculation and give honest answers. If you do not know the answer to an officer’s question, you should say so.
- Exchange Information: It is important that everyone involved exchange information including names, addresses, license plate numbers, and insurance information. Do not forget to also take down the names and numbers of any passengers who were involved. While speaking with other drivers, be mindful of what you say. Do not admit fault for an accident. Saying “I’m sorry”, for example, may be seen by insurance companies or law enforcement as admission of guilt.
- Gather Evidence: If you have a camera available, take pictures of the vehicles involved, the full area of the accident, injuries sustained, and anything else you feel is relevant. You cannot take too many pictures. If possible, ask anyone who witnessed the accident about what they saw and be sure to write down their contact information. You should also keep a file with all the documentation related to your accident. Later, you can use this file to keep track of medical records as well. Any evidence you can gather will help to support potential insurance and legal claims.
- Call Your Insurance Company: Your insurance company will need to know about any accidents that you are involved in. Contact your insurance agent as soon as possible and explain to them exactly what happened. As with your interactions with the police, it is important to answer all questions honestly and clearly. Falsifying an insurance report may forfeit your right to potential compensation.
- Contact an Attorney: If you have been involved in a car accident, talking to an attorney can help to ensure that you get the restitution you deserve. At Karsman, McKenzie & Hart, our Savannah car accident attorneys have won millions of dollars for past clients and are ready to fight for you.