by admin, October 1, 2018, Tips
More than six million car accidents occur each year in the United States. While many of them involve only damage to the vehicle, one in three accidents involve personal injury to the driver or passengers. Of those accidents that involve personal injury, two out of every 10 accidents lead to fatal injuries.
These are startling statistics.
If you are involved in an automobile collision, there are steps you can take to protect yourself and your interests. The following is a list of the top ten things you should do if you are in an automobile accident:
- STOP. Never leave the scene of an accident, even a minor one.
- PROTECT THE SCENE. Assist in preventing additional accidents by setting up flares or keeping your flashers on. If it is dark outside and your lights no longer operate, you should have a flashlight to keep you safe while you wait in your disabled car or by the side of the road.
- CALL THE POLICE. Even if there are no serious injuries, it is a good idea to call the police. You may find they will not respond if there are no injuries. However, it is in your best interest to file a police report. Some insurance companies require a police report when filing a claim. Check your policy for details. All vehicles involved in the accident should remain where they are, unless they interfere with traffic.
- MAKE AN ACCURATE RECORD. Make sure you tell the investigating officer(s) exactly what happened, to the best of your ability. If you do not know certain facts, explain that to the officer on scene. Do not speculate, guess or misconstrue any of the facts. If you are asked if you are injured and you simply don’t know, say you are not sure, rather than no. Often, pain and injuries from motor vehicle accident can become apparent hours after the actual time of impact. You should also make sure statements made by other people involved in the accident are accurate as well.
- TAKE PICTURES. Document. Document. Document. Your cell phone can be your best tool. You should take pictures of all vehicles involved if there is visible damage. If you or anyone on scene are injured, you should photograph all injuries as well. If you cannot take pictures at the scene of the accident, take them as soon as possible after the accident.
- EXCHANGE INFORMATION. If 9-1-1 dispatches an investigating officer to the scene, the officer typically obtains this information. However, if the police do not respond to the accident, you need to record the name, address and telephone number of all individuals involved in the accident, drivers and passengers alike. You should also exchange insurance information with all parties involved. It is smart to take a picture of insurance cards for all vehicles involved in the accident. When witnesses are present, you should get information from them as well so that you or your attorney can contact them in the future. If police respond to the accident, be certain to record the police report number so you can obtain the report in the future.
- REPORT THE ACCIDENT. Many insurance policies require that you report any accident immediately. You may pay extra for medical coverage when involved in an auto accident. This coverage is commonly known as “medpay”. If you have medpay coverage, you are required to submit your accident-related medical bills to your insurance company. Medpay coverage is the primary source of insurance utilized for accident-related medical bills. Once medpay benefits have met their limitations, personal health insurance will become primary insurer. Keep in mind your insurance rates should not increase as a result of submitting claims for medpay coverage so use it!
- SEEK MEDICAL ATTENTION. As stated earlier, injuries sustained from an auto collision may not be immediately apparent. In fact, most individuals feel the most pain a day or two following an automobile accident. Unless you are absolutely certain you were not injured, you should seek medical attention at your local emergency room, urgent care center or family physician. Even minor collisions can result in serious or permanent injury to your spinal cord or other parts of your body.
- KEEP RECORDS. Keep all your accident-related documents and information together. This information should include photos, accident report number, witness statements, your insurance claim number, the claims adjuster who is handling the claim, names and phone numbers of all contacts, receipts for a rental car and other expenses incurred as a result of the accident.
- PROTECT YOUR RIGHTS. Insurance companies want to be alerted and take statements immediately after an accident. They will stress the importance of doing so to speed up the claims process. It is important that you have documented all information accurately and seek the advice of an attorney (if needed) before you continue your insurance claims process to ensure it is in your best interest.
Because our business is family-owned, we can provide the personal experience and care you are looking for when it comes to your vehicle. Let our family take care of your family. Stop by or call one of our locations today!
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Fort Collins, CO 80525
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Loveland, CO 80537
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Greeley, CO 80634