Motor vehicle accidents happen at an alarming rate in the U.S. In fact, according to the U.S. Bureau of Transportation Statistics, there have been more than six million car accidents in the U.S. every single year for at least the last five years.
Because of the sheer number of annual car accidents, you may eventually have to contend with one. Here are four steps to take after a motor vehicle accident.
1. Call the police
Regardless of what the responsible driver may ask you to do, it is usually wise to remain at the accident scene and call the police. Officers should arrive to investigate the accident and write a report. This report may be helpful in pursuing financial compensation for your injuries and other damages.
2. Document the accident scene
Even though officers are likely to file a report, you may be able to fill in any gaps in the official account. Jotting down your memory of the crash may be useful. Similarly, you may want to take photographs of the accident scene and collect contact information for all witnesses.
3. Go to the emergency room
Because of your body’s stress response, you may not realize you have suffered an injury immediately. Consequently, you should probably go to the emergency room and ask a physician to examine you. If you need follow-up care, you should also meet with your primary care doctor or a specialist.
4. Be careful with what you sign
An insurer may want to settle your accident claim quickly and for less than you deserve. Therefore, before signing a blanket medical authorization, a settlement offer or anything else, you must understand all potential consequences.
With some defensive driving and care, you may never have to deal with a motor vehicle accident. Still, thinking about how to respond to a crash before you have one may help you avoid the many pitfalls accident victims often experience.