The Association for Safe International Road Travel reports that 2.35 million people in the US are injured or disabled in a car crash each year. That staggering figure runs the gamut, from so-called fender benders to accidents involving crashes against fixed objects such as utility poles and guardrails, to horrific fatal crashes.
And now, you’ve become one of those statistics. A motorist speeds through a stop sign and crashes into the side of your car. A million things run through your mind as your car rests damaged and disabled in a busy intersection. Should I try to get out of the car? Should I check on the other driver? Should I look for witnesses? Should I call the police?
Exactly what should you do if this happens to you?
You might want to consider taking the following steps:
First, check yourself for injuries. You may not realize you’ve been injured until you begin to move. If you’re hurt, call 9-1-1, if you’re able, and remain in the vehicle. If you can’t make that call or don’t have a phone, ask someone outside the vehicle to call emergency personnel. Next, check on your passengers to learn if they’re OK or have been injured. Again, if there are injuries, call 9-1-1.
If where your vehicle was hit on the roadway is creating a hazard to other motorists, and if it is still drive-able, move it to a safer area.
If the vehicle is not drive-able, turn on your hazard lights, carefully exit the vehicle, watch for oncoming traffic, and lead everyone to a safe area away from the scene. Many instances have occurred in which drivers exited their vehicle after an accident and were injured by other vehicles attempting to navigate around the mishap.
Once you’re in a safe area and you and your passengers are OK, call the police. In some states, contacting the authorities after an accident, whether minor or major, is the law. Police will fill out an accident report and document the scene.
While police are present, get the names and badge numbers of all responding officers. Take photos, if possible, of the accident from several angles, including damage to both cars. Experts also advise taking a photo of the license plate of the other vehicle in the accident. Take down the names and addresses of the other driver and any passengers in their vehicle. If there were witnesses to the accident, obtain their names and contact information.
Be sure to obtain all pertinent information from the other driver, including their full name, address, phone number, the make, color and model of their vehicle, insurance company and policy number, and the exact location of the accident.
Being involved in such an accident can become a stressful and, at times, volatile situation, especially if the drivers disagree on who is at fault. Experts advise not discussing who may be at fault with the other driver.
While at the scene, contact your insurance agent to provide him details about the accident and contact information for the other driver and his insurance provider.
You can’t control what other drivers will do on the road, but you can take steps to regain your financial footing if you’ve been injured in a car accident. If someone else was negligent in a vehicle crash and you are waiting for your lawsuit to make its way through the courts, contact USClaims to see if pre-settlement funding can help. If you’re having trouble meeting your expenses while waiting for a legal settlement or a judgment related to a car crash, USClaims can help.
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