What to Do After a Minor Car Accident
According to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration data, the United States incurs losses of more than $230 billion owing to the over seven million car crashes annually. This results to over two million individuals injured and a further 40,000 killed. Insurance statistics place minor accidents at a 75 percent threshold, with losses considered as more of property damage as opposed to injury accidents. Such matters are easily resolved, and the following are the steps you can take after being involved in a minor incident.
- Keep Calm
The instinctual actions that kick in when you are in an accident include tempers flaring, yelling and engaging in a blame exchange. It is important that when in such a situation, stay calm. Get out of your car and do not confront the other motorist. Instead, determine if yourself or anyone in the other vehicle was hurt and if so, seek medical attention immediately.
- Safety First
Before doing anything else, it is wise to inform other road users of the impending danger. Turn on your hazard lights, and put up the caution triangle at a safe but visible distance from the scene.
- Document the Accident Scene
This step is important if an accident investigation becomes necessary. In this step, you will want to ensure the following areas and information are documented, possibly with the camera and/or video camera on your cell phone;
- The two cars’ damaged areas.
- Your license plate as well as that of the other driver’s.
- The insurance details of the other driver
- The surrounding environment. With this, you may find skid marks, signs of a faulty road, or it could be that actual place the first impact occurred.
- Get Witness Accounts
At this stage, all the information is critical. You should ask them if they would be willing to make a written or a verbal statement as to the events that unfolded. If they would be willing to talk, get all their contact details. If possible, also photograph and videotape them using your cell phone. All of this helps in making sense of the crash as well as strengthening your car claim.
- Get In Touch With the Police
In several situations, accident victims have fallen prey to the thought of not involving the police in the accident. However minor the crash is, get in touch with police. Please note that insurance payment claims are only effected with a police report attached to the claim request.
- Call Your Insurer
Get in touch with your insurance provider as early as possible. They can begin the process of documenting the accident and determining liability. They may send a claims adjuster to assess the damage and confirm which party is at fault.
- Admission of Guilt
Under no circumstances should you admit any fault in the accident, either to anyone on scene, other drivers who were involved, or even your insurance company. It is the duty of the police and the insurance agents to determine the liable party and not you.
- Seeking Medical Assistance
As minor as the crash may seem, you should get checked by a doctor to ascertain that you didn’t suffer any internal or hidden injuries. Do this immediately.
A car accident lawyer DC counts on can help you recover your damages from the liable person should your injury be more serious than you initially thought.
Thank to our friends and contributors from The Law Firm of Frederick J. Brynn, P.C. for their insight into car accidents and personal injury cases.