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Here’s a staggering statistic: according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, over 6 million car accidents occur in the United States each year. Even if it’s just a minor fender bender you will be involved in, it’s easy to get shaken up and not be able to think clearly.

 

That said, you have to know more than just the number of seasoned personal injury attorneys, you also need to educate yourself ahead of time so you will know what to do.  If you get involved in an auto accident, keep the following in mind to ensure you protect yourself and your interests:

Check for any injuries.

 

If you or the people in the vehicle with you are injured, call 911 right away. If you are conscious but seriously injured, try not to move until the emergency personnel arrives.

Check the well-being of your passengers.

 

If you are not hurt, check on the well-being of the people in the car with you. If someone is injured, call 911 right away or ask bystanders to get help.

Get to safety.

 

If you don’t have any severe injuries and you can still move, get to the side of the sidewalk or road. If you can still drive your car safely, pull it to the side of the road so it won’t become a hazard. Otherwise, leave it as it is and get on the side of the road.

Call 911.

 

Regardless if the accident is a minor or a major one, calling the police is crucial. In other states, it is even legally required. The responding officers will document the scene and create an accident report.

 

When filing a claim with your insurer, a copy of the police may be required to complete the claims process.

Exchange information.

 

If you and your passengers don’t have life-threatening injuries, exchange insurance and contact information with the other driver. Below are some of the critical information you should get:

 

  • The full name and contact information
  • Insurance policy number and company
  • License plate number and driver’s license
  • Model, type, and color of the vehicle

 

As much as possible, do not discuss who is at fault while exchanging information with the other driver. The insurance adjuster will review your claim and determine who is at fault based on the police report, an inspection of the vehicles and damage, and any other supporting documents.

Protect your rights.

 

One of the most important things you should do is consult your attorney. Your attorney can help ensure your rights are protected and no valuable evidence is destroyed. It is also essential that you do not provide any statement to your insurance company without legal advice from your lawyer.

Decide whether to file an insurance claim.

 

Whether it is sensible to file an insurance claim will depend on several factors, including:

 

  • Who is at fault
  • The extent of the damage to the vehicles
  • Whether minor or serious injuries have occurred
  • The type and amount of your insurance coverage
  • The type and amount of insurance coverage the other party has

 

Auto accidents can be frightening, so it is crucial that you know in advance what to do if you get involved in one. For other tips on what you should do, check out the infographics below.