Each year, thousands of people are involved in traffic accidents during the Labor Day Weekend. If you are one of these unfortunate people this year, will you know what to do? Auto accidents always take a toll on everyone involved, both physically and financially. The chances are high that at some point you will be involved in a minor accident. Knowing what to do in the event of an accident can prevent further injuries, reduce costs and speed up the process.
If you are involved in a traffic collision, try to remain calm and follow these steps:
1. Make Sure You’re Okay. Take care of your medical needs and render first aid to the extent you are able to do so.
2. Be safe. If there are no serious injuries, you should move the cars to the side of the road and out of the way of oncoming traffic. Leaving cars in the middle of the road or an intersection can result in more accidents and injuries. If a car cannot be moved, everyone should remain inside with their seatbelts fastened until help arrives. Make sure to turn on your hazard lights.
3. Photograph the Accident and Take Notes. Use a disposible camera (keep one in the glove box) or your phone camera to document the damage to all the vehicles at the scene. Take a written description of each car, including year, make, model and color. Also write down the exact location of the collision and your account of how it happened. Never tell the other driver or the police that the accident was your fault, even if you think it was.
4. Exchange the Following Information With the Other Driver.
- Name, address, and phone number. If the driver’s is not the insured, determine their relationship to the insured and take down their name and address as well.
- Insurance company and policy number.
- Driver’s license number.
- License plate number.
- If there were witnesses to the accident, try to get their contact information too. They may be able to help you if the other drivers dispute your version of what happened.
5. File An Accident Report. Always call the police after an accident. Filing a police report will help insurance companies speed up the claims process after an accident. If the police do not respond to your accident (in some states, they will only respond if there are injuries), accident reports are usually available at police stations and on the Department of Motor Vehicles website.
6. Notify Your Insurance Company. Drivers sometimes decide to handle the damages without involving their insurance companies, but this isn’t always a good idea. The other driver may agree to pay for the damage to your car on the day of the accident, but later they may decide later that the repairs will be too expensive. You have no way of knowing whether another driver will change his mind and report the accident to his insurance company. The other driver could even claim injuries that weren’t apparent at the scene of the accident. If this is the case, you will probably wind up involved in a lawsuit.
If you do become involved in a lawsuit dealing with a car accident, it is vital that you hire an attorney who will represent your interests, whether the accident was your fault or not. The attorneys at Roberts and Blackledge are experienced in handling auto accident cases, having settled literally hundreds in their 25 years of experience. They will work to get the matter resolved as quickly as possible, and will help to minimize the stress of your accident, both physical and financial.