Millions of people rely on their vehicles every year to get them to and from their daily appointments and obligations. Fortunately most people will never experience a serious accident, but if it ever does happen to you (and it can happen to anyone out on the roads), and it results in injury to you or someone else, it’s important to know what to do and what not to do.
Get the Police Involved
Even in a minor fender-bender, it’s always a good idea to call the police, and make sure you never leave the scene of an accident, no matter how minor you think it is. Insurance companies may require a police report if you plan to file a claim, and the authorities can investigate the cause of the accident and ensure that you get the proper information from the other driver(s) if someone else was at fault for the accident.
Tell the Officers the Truth, and Nothing But the Truth
This might seem like a no-brainer, but many people who were involved in an accident want to be helpful and will speculate, guess, or simply misstate what happened when talking to the police. If you don’t know something, say that. If you are not sure of something, don’t guess, just say you are not sure. This also applies to injuries—if you are unsure of whether or not you are injured, don’t say you are fine. You don’t have to lie and make up an injury, but you can say you’re not sure if you are injured. The adrenaline and shock of an accident might mask the initial symptoms, so saying you’re unsure keeps the door open for insurance to cover injuries that might manifest later.
Document with Photos
Barring serious injury, take time to document accidents with photos and videos right after the accident occurs. Once the police are on scene, you can continue to take photos as long as it doesn’t interfere with their investigation. You can also photograph visible injuries on you or your passenger(s). If it’s not possible to take photos at the scene of the accident, take some as soon as you can afterwards.
Report it to Your Insurance
Any accident should be reported to your insurance immediately. If you suffered from an injury, this is particularly important so the insurance can cover the costs of treatment at a hospital, family physician, or other specialist such as a chiropractor. If you think you might be entitled to additional compensation, think about consulting an attorney to help you understand your rights.
Get Medical Attention
Some injuries from an accident are immediately obvious, but sometimes you might feel okay initially only to find out later that you had an injury you were unaware of—things that are not so easily visible, such as whiplash, concussion, spinal injuries, or other internal injuries. After any accident you should visit a medical professional for evaluation to ensure your health and safety in the future. That could be a hospital, a personal family physician, or an experienced accident recovery professional such as a chiropractor.