More than 10 million motor vehicle crashes happen each year in the United States. The Michigan State Police reported nearly 250,000 accidents in 2020, resulting in 1,010 deaths and 44,417 injuries.
Being involved in a crash is nerve-wracking, and even a minor fender bender can be disorienting. Therefore, it’s essential to know how to protect yourself and others if you are in an accident.
List of “Dos” after a crash
After a motor vehicle accident, the most important actions involve assessing the well-being of everyone involved before worrying about damage to your car or other property. These include:
- Try to be calm: Keeping a clear and cool head will help everyone.
- Assess injuries: Check yourself and others. Call 911 or ask someone else to do so if you can’t. If you believe you are seriously hurt, try not to move until help arrives.
- Move your car: If you can, try to pull your vehicle to the side of the road away from traffic. Turn on your hazard lights to warn other drivers.
- Contact police: When any injuries occur or considerable property damage results, contact law enforcement to investigate. Get the name and badge number of any officer who responds.
- Exchange information: Get the name, contact details and insurance information for the other driver(s), and write down the names of any witnesses to the crash.
Important “Don’ts” to remember
It’s just as crucial to know what not to do after a crash. Here are some of the biggest mistakes to avoid:
- Leaving the scene: Fleeing from a crash site can result in criminal charges.
- Accepting blame: Even if you believe you are at fault, don’t admit guilt to anyone. Crash victims are often in shock and don’t think clearly in the aftermath of an accident.
- Blaming others: You should also avoid pointing the finger at the other driver, even if you believe they are responsible. Police and others will make that determination.
- Talking to an insurance adjuster: Insurers, even your own, look for ways to deny or minimize claims over accidents. None of them are on your side.
Contact an experienced attorney
Depending upon the extent of your injuries and damage to your vehicle, car crashes can result in devastating physical, financial and personal consequences. When someone else’s negligence injures you, it’s crucial to contact an experienced personal injury attorney.
Your lawyer will thoroughly investigate the accident and deal with insurance companies so you can focus on your recovery. A knowledgeable attorney works with accident reconstruction experts, physicians and others to calculate and collect the damages you are entitled to receive.