Bad news for Mississippians! On Thrillist’s “Buckle Up: All 50 States, Ranked by How Likely You Are to Die in a Car Accident,” Mississippi ranks in second place. Part of the reason is that Mississippians put an average of 18,692 miles on the average vehicle, which means they drive more than those in any other state. The probability of dying in a car crash is one in 4,880, which seems rather higher than many would hope. On American roads, more than 6 million car crashes occur each year, and the lifetime odds of dying in a car accident are 1 in 20. Thankfully, the roads appear to be getting safer, but it’s still statistically likely that you’ll be in a car accident (not necessarily fatal) every 16 years or so with at least four crashes behind your belt before you reach the end of your life. So, if you find yourself in a car crash and you’re unsure what to do next, here’s what to do in the event of an auto accident.
Here’s a quick rundown of what to do when you’ve been in an auto accident:
- Call the police
- Get the details of other drivers, the police, the paramedics, and any witnesses
- Take photo and video evidence
- Keep all necessary documentations
- Stay tight-lipped
- Go to the hospital or your doctor’s office for a complete check-up
- Do not call your insurance company right away
- Keep track of your health
- Contact a trusted attorney
- File a car accident claim or personal injury claim (if injured)
1. Call the police
If you’ve been in an accident, call the police immediately. The police will write a report. Take down their names and badge numbers. Try to snap a photo of each officer if you can for easier identification. Once the police report has been written and filed, obtain a copy of your report for your records; you’ll need it to file a claim.
2. Get the details of other drivers, the police, the paramedics, and any witnesses
It’s important that you get the details of anyone involved in the car accident, as well as the police officers who respond to the scene, any paramedics, and any witnesses. If you can write down their details on paper, write them in your phone’s notepad, and email these details to yourself. You do not want to lose them. If you can get statements from witnesses, record them. Do not allow other parties to record statements of you where possible.
3. Take photo and video evidence
Take photos of anything and everything that you think will help your case. Take photos of both vehicles. Take photos of the asphalt if there are tire marks. Take photos of any broken glass. Take photos of injuries. If you can, also take videos of everything. Walk around the scene on video and report everything you see.
4. Keep all necessary documentations
You will need all medical documents, all evidence, and your police report when you file a claim, so keep all documentation relating to your accident. If you get your car repaired, keep track of the repairs. Keep track of any paperwork in which you’ve paid deductibles as well. Also document anything you’ve had to pay out as a result of the accident, such as extra daycare or babysitters, time off work, medical expenses, and so forth.
5. Stay tight-lipped
When you’ve been in an accident, do not admit fault. On the scene of the accident, only speak with the police officer writing the report. You do not have to give details to the other driver, and you do not have to divulge more than facts to your insurance company. Do not speculate what happened. Do not say you are uninjured. If there are doubts as to who is at fault for the accident, it’s best to contact an attorney.
6. Go to the hospital or your doctor’s office for a complete check-up
When it’s safe to do so, go to the hospital or your doctor’s office for a complete medical check-up. Get the doctors and nurses to write a report as to your health. Have an MRI scan to check for brain damage and bleeding as well. Keep in mind that it may take days to weeks for injuries to show up. Do not file any claims until you understand your medical condition.
If you’ve been severely injured on the scene and you’ve been rushed to the hospital, you may not have been able to gather evidence on the scene. Make sure to keep any documentation relating to your medical treatments and injuries.
7. Do not call your insurance company right away
You generally have to report an accident within a reasonable amount of time, but that time is up to you. Do not call your insurance company the minute you get home after an accident. You may still be in shock and are definitely not in the right frame of mind to comment on what just happened. Wait to contact your insurance company – or the other party’s insurance company – until you’re ready to do so and until you know exactly what information you need to relay.
Read here for five insurance company tactics that may cost you money. Insurance companies are not on your side and want to pay out as little as possible, so do be careful when dealing with them. For complicated cases, it may be best to have an attorney to negotiate on your behalf.
8. Keep track of your health
Again, your injuries may take time to manifest, so be sure to monitor your health along with your doctor and your attorney if you have one. You may find that you have back pain six months after the accident that never healed, or you may have a brain injury or TBI crop up in weeks after. An attorney can advise you when to file for a claim and the necessary compensation to cover long-term medical bills.
9. Contact a trusted attorney
Before you file a claim, make sure you have a trusted attorney on your side. Car insurance companies have experienced legal teams that are masters of manipulation and handing out settlements that are notoriously low. They are, after all, a multi-billion dollar industry who are in it to protect their profits.
10. File a car accident claim or personal injury claim (if injured)
Filing auto insurance claims can be tricky and, since insurance companies are a business, they want to preserve their bottom line, which is why an attorney may be your best bet at helping you get the compensation you deserve.
Attorneys have experience understanding the long-term ramifications of an accident and may be able to sue for damages you might not have considered. You may find that if you do it alone, you may only ask for damages covering your medical bills and your car repairs, but fail to realise that long-term health risks, time lost at work, and extra childcare, for example, can cost you more than you think. If you are severely injured, then the costs to you go up.
It’s best to have someone on your side when you go through the difficult process.
Call Coxwell & Associates, PLLC for a free case consultation.
We have over 36 years of experience dealing with personal injury and car accident cases. We are here to help and to advise you on the best course of action for your case. Contact us for a case consultation today.
Disclaimer: This blog is intended as general information purposes only, and is not a substitute for legal advice. Anyone with a legal problem should consult a lawyer immediately.