Thursday, January 8, 2015

What Should I Do If I Am in a Car Accident?

If you have never been in a car accident, it is likely only a matter of time before you are. According to the insurance industry, the average driver is involved in a car accident every 17.9 years. So if you are actively driving over the course of your lifetime, you are probably going to have to deal with an accident at some point. Knowing the proper procedure to follow can make this difficult situation less stressful and minimize the damages.

Here are some tips you can follow after being in a car accident:

Remain Calm

Firstly, do not panic or lose your composure. And do not leave of flee the scene until it is prudent to do so. If there are any serious injuries, call 911 immediately.

Get Safe

If possible, move vehicles off or to the side of the road so no further accidents or injuries occur. If the vehicles can't be moved, turn on hazard lights and place flares or triangle warning signs to alert other drivers. Make sure to get yourself to the side of the road and out of the way of traffic.

Contact the Authorities

After getting yourself to safety, evaluate the injuries to yourself or your passengers. Check on the condition of the other vehicle's occupants and call 911 if there are any injuries. Depending on state laws, you may also be required to contact the police. In Alaska for example, the police must be contacted if there are any bodily injuries or more than $2000 in property damage. In addition, the police can help keep everyone calm and help establish liability. If you do not require the police to be at the scene of your accident, you should file a police report soon afterwards to get your version of the accident on record.

Exchange Information

Exchange your name, address, phone number, email address, insurance company and policy numbers with the other driver.

Do Not Admit Fault

Even if the cause of the accident seems obvious, do not ever admit fault or place blame. Refrain from saying "I'm sorry" or something similar with the other driver as this is an admission of guilt. Keep discussion with the other driver to a minimum. At the accident scene, only speak about specifics of the accident the police, fire department, or other emergency personnel.

Document the Car Accident

If possible after everyone is safe, take pictures of the accident scene. Note the location, time and a description of the accident, damages and people involved. Also gather any information from witnesses who may have seen the accident.

Contact Insurance Company

As soon as possible after the accident, call your auto insurance company to report the accident and open a claim. Your insurance company should have a 24-hour toll-free hotline and now most auto insurance claims also have a website that permits people to report the accident online. Also, consider asking your auto insurance company representative where to take your vehicle if it needs repair.

Though an auto accident can be a stressful experience, knowing the proper procedures to follow can protect yourself from undue liability and expense while protecting your rights to compensation.

If you have been injured in a motor vehicle collision, you should contact a personal injury lawyer before speaking with an insurance adjuster. Car accidents can cause a variety of injuries, including neck and back injuries. Contact the Law Office of Ben Crittenden at 907-771-9002 for a free consultation or visit our website:
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