Over six million car accidents occur each year in the United States. Fortunately, most of them involve only property damage (damage to the vehicle, as opposed to the occupants). But one in three accidents involve personal injury to the driver or passengers, and out of that number, two out of every ten accidents lead to fatal injuries.
If you are involved in an automobile accident, there are certain things you can do to protect yourself and your interests. The following is a list of the things you should do if you are in an automobile accident.
Make sure to call law enforcement and have a report made. It is important to call police to an accident once it has occurred. The police officer will do a preliminary investigation, examine the scene, interview the parties and any witnesses, as well as provide a determination as to who was at fault. An accident report sets forth who was at fault and is the single most persuasive piece of evidence proving liability. It is difficult to make an insurance claim without one.
Obtain witness contact information. If there are witnesses to the accident, you should obtain their contact information.
Seek medical treatment. If you believe you have been injured in the accident, you should receive medical treatment immediately or as soon as possible. The longer you wait to receive medical treatment, the more likely the insurance company will argue that you were not hurt as a result of the accident. This is the defense that the insurance companies raise most often.
Do not give statements to an insurance company. Never give a statement to an insurance company following an accident (not even your own). Insurance companies will seek to obtain a statement that they can use later against you when you are seeking compensation for your injuries. You should notify your insurance company that the accident occurred, but you should tell them that you do not want to give any statement until you have consulted an attorney.
Complete your medical treatment. It is important to follow through with all prescribed medical treatment following an accident. If you do not complete your treatment, the insurance company will argue that you are not injured to the extent that you claim. Keep up with your copays and out of pocket expenses.
Buckle up, drive safely, and as always, your referrals are appreciated!