Not surprisingly, automobile accidents account for the majority of personal injury claims in the United States. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), there were 5,687,00 police-reported accidents in 2013, and 30,057 fatal crashes.
So if you’re in an auto accident, what should you do?
Call the Police
Even if you don’t think anyone was hurt and there doesn’t appear to be any damage, always alert law enforcement so that an accident report will be generated. While you’re waiting for the police to arrive, exchange personal information with the other driver — including name, address, phone number, driver’s license number, license plate number, motor vehicle registration number, and auto insurance information. Don’t move your car until after the police arrive, unless it comprises the safety of yourself and other drivers. Keeping the cars in place will erase doubt as to how the crash happened and who may have caused it.
Document the Accident
Jot down any pertinent information you observe, such as the time of day, road conditions, anything the other driver said to you, visible damage to your vehicle, and any injuries you may have suffered. Use your cell phone or a camera to take as many photos as possible, from all angles. Take photos of the damage to your car as well. It is also helpful to draw a diagram of the exact positions of the vehicles before and after the accident, and take notice of reference points like telephone poles, signs, crosswalks, and nearby homes and businesses.
Call Your Insurance Company
To start the claims process, you will need to report the accident to your insurer. Your agent will be able to help you get your vehicle repaired, and also advise you about your auto policy’s medical payments coverage, also known as “med pay,” which will cover your medical bills up to a certain amount, according to your policy.
Seek Medical Attention
Get examined by a medical doctor, even if you don’t think you were injured. Symptoms of neck, back, and head injuries can take days or even weeks to appear, and can worsen without prompt treatment. Avoiding medical treatment can also weaken any potential personal injury claim you might bring later on.
Avoid Speaking to the Other Driver’s Insurance Company
Don’t speak to any representative of the other driver’s auto insurance company, don’t agree to give a written or recorded statement, and don’t accept any offers from insurance companies without first consulting with a personal injury attorney, who will evaluate your damages and help you get a fair settlement. Making any verbal or written agreement with the other insurance company can jeopardize or even nullify any future personal injury case.
Contact a Raleigh Auto Accident Lawyer Today
Were you involved in a car accident due to the negligence of another driver? For competent and quality legal representation, call the experienced personal injury lawyers at Nagle & Associates, P.A. Contact us online or call (800) 411-1583 to schedule your free initial consultation today.