Every day there are more than 700 car accidents in the state of Florida alone. Most often the only damage in car accidents is property damage, but a third of them result in personal injury. Twenty percent of personal injury accidents result in a fatality.
Should you be involved in a personal injury accident, here are a few things you should make sure you do:
- STOP: Even if it is a minor accident, you should never leave the scene. Don’t move your car unless you are interfering with traffic.
- PUT ON YOUR HAZARD LIGHTS: This not only signals that something is wrong, but it may also help prevent further accidents from occurring. In the event your lights don’t work and/or if it’s dark out, use a flashlight or road flare. It’s a good idea to keep a flashlight in the car in case of emergencies such as this.
- CALL 911: Regardless of whether or not there are serious injuries, it’s always a good idea to call the police. In fact, many insurance companies require a police report for property damage and personal injury claims.
- PROVIDE AN ACCURATE REPORT: Tell the responding police officer exactly what happened to the best of your ability. Be completely honest. If you can not answer a question with confidence you should simply state you are not sure. Speculating, guessing and not giving accurate facts can cause trouble later.
- PHOTOGRAPH THE DAMAGE: Most cell phones have cameras these days, so take pictures of all of the damage. If you have visible injuries, photograph them too. If your cell phone doesn’t have a camera, be sure to keep a disposable camera in your car. Do not interfere with the police investigation while photographing your vehicle or injuries. Should taking pictures at the accident scene prove impossible, take them as soon as you can after the accident.
- EXCHANGE INFORMATION: Obtain the name, address, telephone numbers and the insurance information of every person involved in the accident. If police are called, the responding officer will most likely take care of this for you and give you a police report number to obtain the police report later.
- REPORT THE ACCIDENT: Many insurance policies require immediate reporting of accidents. Therefore, you should notify your insurance company as soon as possible. Inquire about medical benefits to see if you have coverage through your car insurance for any injuries endured.
- SEEK MEDICAL ATTENTION: Many injuries are not evident immediately after a car accident. The pain may show up a day or two after the fact. If you feel any pain following the accident visit a doctor or hospital to assess the damage to your body. Keep in mind that accidents both big and small can cause serious injury and it’s better to be safe than sorry.
- KEEP YOUR DOCUMENTS HANDY: You’ll want your police report, phone numbers and all crucial information related to your accident in one place to make following up easier on you.
- CONSULT AN ATTORNEY: Consulting an attorney ensures that your rights will be protected and your case will be handled with the utmost care. Be sure to consult with your attorney prior to giving a recorded statement to your insurance company. An attorney can assist you in compensation for your vehicle and getting the best medical treatment possible.
Image source: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/0/03/Car_with_frontal_collision.jpg