In the United States, there are close to 6 million automobile accidents every year. Texting while driving is a major cause for concern since you’re 23 times more apt to have a car wreck if you text while you’re driving.
If you do become involved in a car accident, FindLaw advises that there are five action steps you should take after the crash.
1. DO NOT LEAVE THE SCENE OR ADMIT FAULT.
Never leave an accident scene before it is acceptable to do so. Particularly in cases where an individual has been injured or has been killed, leaving the scene can leave you open to severe criminal hit-and-run charges.
Immediately following an auto accident, the party at fault or primarily at fault may not be apparent. For that reason, do not make any apologies or admit fault at the scene or you could be admitting legal liability for the accident.
2. CHECK ON ALL INVOLVED PARTIES.
Prior to making an assessment of the damage to your vehicle and taking photos of any damage, make certain that everyone that was involved in the crash is okay. If necessary, obtain medical help for anyone needing it. Unless there is a hazard necessitating it, don’t move an unconscious person or a person who has back or neck pain until qualified medical assistance appears.
3. EXCHANGE PERTINENT INFORMATION.
While exchanging information, remain cooperative and courteous. Write down the names, phone numbers, driver’s license numbers, addresses, license plate numbers, and insurance information of every driver involved. Also obtain the names, addresses, and phone numbers of any passengers and witnesses to the accident.
4. CONTACT THE POLICE.
Regardless of the severity of the accident and injuries sustained, you should always call the police to the scene in order to document the scene and evidence, as well as have a contemporaneous investigation of the accident completed. When police arrive at the accident scene, request to have a police report filed, and write down the names and badge numbers of the officers who responded.
5. CONTACT YOUR INSURANCE COMPANY AND CONSIDER HIRING A PERSONAL INJURY ATTORNEY.
Let your insurance company know right away that you’ve had a car accident, regardless of who you believe to be at fault. Explain what occurred truthfully and clearly, and inform them of the extent of any injuries you may have. Lying about the incident could have serious implications, including denial of coverage for the crash. In addition, review any police report that was filed in order to indicate the party at fault or any traffic laws that were broken.
If you or anyone else sustained injuries as a result of the accident, it’s advisable to consult an experienced auto accident attorney or a personal injury attorney who can advise you on personal injury law. A car accident lawyer can help maximize the amount awarded to you by the court if you’ve been hurt. Many lawyers work on a contingency basis so they only receive a fee if you are awarded damages or obtain a settlement.
Being in an auto accident can be a frightening, stressful experience. Taking these actions after the accident, and following the advice of a personal injury attorney will aid you in getting through the incident.