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Had a Car Accident: Now What Do You Do?
the seconds that your car is swerving out of control, it seems as if
time is suspended. There may not be a single thought in your mind,
only sounds and sensations — and perhaps the idea that you may
die. Then, suddenly, your car has finally come to a stop. You take a
few seconds to make sure you are still in one piece, and then get
out of the car. Depending on the severity of the accident, you may
even have to crawl out of your car. You are standing in the road,
your mind spinning with shock. Now what do you do?
check for injuries. Your life and health are more important than
your vehicle. If your car is in the middle of the road, see if you
can move it out of the way to prevent further accidents from
happening. If your car cannot be driven, turn on your four-way
flashers. If you happen to have station cones or other traffic
devices, position them to warn approaching vehicles. At night, use
flares or a flashlight.
soon as possible, ask someone to call the police. If there are
injuries, also request an ambulance. Often, cars passing will pull
over to see if they can help. Find out if onlookers have any medical
or emergency training. If there is an injured person, they may be
going into shock. Wrap them in a blanket or coat. Do not try to move
them — you may only aggravate their injuries. A person who has
internal injuries or who is in the early stages of shock may be much
more injured than they appear to be. Never assume that if you cannot
see an injury it does not exist.
if you are not physically hurt, shock and excitement will make it
hard to think clearly. When the police arrive, let them take charge.
They are equipped to handle the emergency and investigate the
accident. Their report may help you if you are later sued or need to
sue someone else.
the specific damages to the vehicles involved. Then write down the
names, addresses, and license numbers of all persons involved in the
accident. Also, write down the names and addresses of any witnesses.
They may be able to prevent disagreements concerning how the
accident actually happened. Next, write down whatever details you
can see and remember about the accident, including the location,
weather conditions and visibility, the position of the vehicles
before and after the accident, skid marks, and debris on the road
that may have contributed to the accident.
sure a vehicle accident report has been filed. The police usually
take care of this, but in the event that they decide not to do so,
these forms are available at police stations and on the Motor
you have any doubt about your own condition, SEE A DOCTOR. As I
said, not all injuries are immediately apparent. Tell your doctor in
as much detail as you can how the accident happened and any pain or
problems you are experiencing as a result. This is also an important
step to take for your insurance records.
consulting a lawyer who can advise you and help protect your rights.
You lawyer will be able to contact any witnesses and take their
statements while their recall is still fresh. Get the lawyer’s
advice before making any statements to investigators or insurance
adjusters and before signing any medical releases. DO NOT LET A
REPRESENTATIVE FROM THE OTHER PARTY INFLUENCE YOU. Follow the advice
of your OWN attorney before filing a claim or admitting any fault.
receipt of a traffic ticket or citation does not automatically mean
legal liability or fault for the accident. However, if you admit
guilt and sign that ticket, it may be used against you in an
insurance claim. In that case, you must get legal advice before you
decide how to plea regarding that ticket.
must inform your insurance company as soon as you are able. Failure
to do so could have serious repercussions: the insurance company may
not cover you. So contact an agent or adjuster, and provide them
with any information they request.
your car has been damaged, if you lose work, have physical injuries
or any other form of loss, you may be able to recover damages under
your insurance policy if certain conditions have been met. You may
also be able to recover money from the other party in the accident.
These are the conditions that are required for monetary
compensation: the extent and duration of your injuries; pain and
suffering resulting from injuries; disability, both temporary and
permanent; medical expenses resulting from the accident including
ambulance, doctor bills, hospital bills, physical therapy, and
prescriptions; and finally, the value of the damage to your car and
other personal property.
you will never experience a car accident — it is certainly an
experience that you will never forget. But if you do have an
accident, knowing your legal rights and what to do at the scene will
be of great help to you.
Assortment of Articles
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-stop dreading that long trip with the kids. See
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Around Safety Before Leaving on a Trip -planning on a
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for Traveling with Pets -taking Rusty or Buttons with
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brought to you for general information purposes only and there are
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