I Was In An Accident!

In the United States in 2008 alone there were around 10.2 million auto accidents causing about 39,000 deaths. If you drive, even if you are a great driver, chances you will eventually be involved in a car accident. You may be a great driver, but unfortunately the person in the next car might not be. When a crash does happen, it is important to know how to protect your self, your property, and your rights.

The first thing you should always do after being in a car accident is to insure your safety. If it is at all possible, move your vehicle from the roadway to a nearby safe spot (shoulder, parking lot, etc.). Once you have done your best to keep yourself from getting hit by still another vehicle, check for injuries in both vehicles and contact the police immediately. If either vehicle is overturned, smoking, or on fire, clear the area. Remember, the health and safety of you and all others involved in the accident is the most important thing.

Once everyone’s well being has been accounted for, get the name, address, and insurance information of the owner of the other vehicle. If the driver is not the owner, get the driver’s name, address, phone number and insurance information. Give your name, address and insurance information to the other driver. Don’t give any other information about yourself.

Don’t talk about the car accident with anyone until the police arrive. Be polite, but don’t blame anyone—including  yourself even if you think the car accident was your fault. You never really know how anything you might say might be twisted in court later. It is best just to keep quiet.

Report the accident to your insurance company. The sooner they get started on your claim, the better. If you have a camera or camera equipped cell phone, take pictures of all property damage. If the other driver objects, wait until the police arrive.

Be sure to take down names, addresses and phone numbers of any witnesses, especially if the police may be slow to arrive for whatever reason. Witnesses may leave the scene of an accident if they think nobody is interested in their account. Give all witness information to the police when they arrive.

Following these guidelines will insure that you are properly prepared following a crash, whether you are just dealing with an insurance claim, or if the accident winds up in court.