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Involved in a car accident? What next?

Involved in a car accident? What next?

According to Driving-Tests.org, the U.S. records about six million car accidents each year. Although most of these accidents entail property damage, a third of them cause personal injury to either the driver or the passengers. Furthermore, a fifth of these accidents results in fatal injuries.

If you are involved in a car accident, use the following checklist to protect everyone involved and get your auto insurance claim processed.

1. Stop

Do not drive away from the accident scene.

2. Protect the accident scene

Keep your flashers on and set up flares to prevent more accidents from occurring. If your lights are not working and it is dark, use a flashlight to protect yourself as you wait by the roadside or in your wrecked car.

3. Call the police

Make sure you call the police even if there no fatalities. You will need a police report when filing an auto insurance claim with your insurer. Ensure the vehicles involved in the car stay in the same position unless they’re likely to cause a traffic jam.

4. Make a precise record

Tell the police everything upon arrival. Inform them if you are not sure of certain facts — do not guess, misstate, or speculate any facts. Also, ensure the statements made by other involved parties are accurate.

5. Take pictures

If you have a camera or a camera-equipped phone, take pictures of the vehicles involved in the accident. Photograph all the visible injuries sustained. However, do not interfere with the prevailing police investigation.

6. Exchange information.

Usually, it is the investigating officer’s responsibility to gather this information. Nevertheless, you should record the name, address and contact information of everyone involved in the accident. Ask to see the vehicles’ insurance cards and record their insurance information. This will be helpful when you or your attorney needs to contact them. If you have witnesses, record their details as well for future communication.

7. Seek medical attention

Unless you are certain that you are safe, consider seeking medical attention because motor vehicle accident injuries are not instantaneously apparent. You can sustain a permanent or serious injury even in a minor impact car accident. Therefore, undergoing a medical checkup will help you avoid potential post-accident behavioral and cognitive changes.

8. Keep a file.

Secure all your car accident-related information and documents.

9. Protect your rights

Consulting your attorney is the most important thing to do following a car accident. Your attorney will protect your rights and valuable evidence. Generally, auto insurers require claimants to take statements after a car accident. Your attorney will guide you on various issues to ensure you receive the best medical attention and get fully compensated for your vehicle.

Although this checklist will help you recover after a car accident, remember that it is always advisable to be a much more defensive and attentive driver who is always mindful about other road users.