Car accidents happen, and they happen all the time. This is an unfortunate fact of life, and something that we all must be prepared for. Only so much safety is in your power. At some point, it’s up to the other drivers on the road to carry their end of the arrangement, and sadly, this agreement is not upheld and an accident happens.
If you are in an auto accident, here are a few things you need to do:
First thing’s first, you need to make sure you are safe. The last thing you want to do is put yourself in an unsafe position to cause another accident, get injured, or worse. If possible, pull off to the side of the road and engage your hazard signals. If your car won’t move, turn on your hazards, check for traffic, and get yourself out of harm’s way while you contact the police.
As soon as you’re safely out of harm’s way, call 9-1-1. Report the accident, and give the dispatcher the information they need. Check on the person in the other car and report any injuries. If there are any injuries, it is important for the dispatcher to know to send medical help. If not, you still need an officer to file a report and you still need to notify the authorities if the crash scene disrupts traffic.
While you wait for the police, take as many photos as you can. Your smartphone will do just fine. Be sure to document your vehicle, the other vehicles involved, and the positioning of the vehicles if possible. Take as many photos of the scene as possible. It’s better to have too many than not enough, and you can’t go back in time to take more.
If an ambulance is on the scene, and you’re not sure if you need treatment, be safe and accept it. In the heat of the moment, adrenaline may mask pain from an injury and you may be totally unaware that you were hurt. Likewise, you may have whiplash and other injuries and not be aware of it. It is best to accept medical treatment for the sake of your health. It is also important to have your injuries officially documented at the time of the accident in case you were harmed and want to seek damages later.
Before discussing your claim at all with the other driver’s insurance company, seek legal advice first by calling Attorney Jeff Kopis. Jeff is licensed to practice in both Illinois and Missouri and has been practicing for over 25 years dealing with personal injury cases stemming from auto accidents, truck accidents, bicycle accidents, motorcycle accidents, and slips and falls. If you have any questions about how to handle your accident or deal with the damages you have sustained from one, call (618) 726-2222.