What to Do if You Are in a Motor Vehicle Accident

Over six million car accidents occur each year in the United States. Fortunately, most of them involve only property damage - damage to the vehicle as opposed to the occupants. But one in three accidents involve personal injury to the driver or passengers and out of that number, two out of every ten accidents lead to fatal injuries.

If you are involved in an automobile accident, there are certain things you can do to protect yourself and your interests. The following is a list of the top ten things you should do if you are in an automobile accident:

STOP. Never drive away from the scene of an accident, even a minor one.

PROTECT THE SCENE. You can prevent further accidents by setting up flares, or keeping your flashers on. If it is dark and your lights don't work, you should have a flashlight to keep you safe while you wait in your disabled car or by the side of the road.

CALL THE POLICE. Even if there are no serious injuries, it is a good idea to call the police. You may need a police report to file a claim with your insurance company, even if it is just to make a claim for damage to your vehicle.

MAKE AN ACCURATE RECORD. When the police arrive, make sure you tell the investigating officer(s) exactly what happened, to the best of your ability. If you do not know certain facts, tell that to the officer. Do not speculate, guess or misstate any of the facts. If you are asked if you are injured and you are not sure, say you are not sure, rather than no.

REFRAIN FROM MAKING ANY STATEMENTS TO OTHER DRIVER. You are only required to exchange your address, driver’s license number, vehicle registration, and insurance card copies with the other driver. Other than sharing this information:
DO NOT make any other statements or comments – these statements can be used against you.
DO NOT apologize
DO NOT admit the accident was your fault in any way
DO NOT say “you simply did not see a driver”
DO NOT speculate about ANYTHING you are not 100% certain about.

Your personal opinions, such as the speed at impact, may be inaccurate. Anything you say can be used against your case in a civil lawsuit, and with intention to incriminate you.

PROTECT YOUR RIGHTS. Perhaps the most important thing you should do after an accident is to consult your attorney. Your attorney can protect your rights and make sure valuable evidence is not destroyed.

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