Car accidents are an unfortunate reality of life. Whether you drive, take the bus, walk, or ride your bike, it is virtually impossible to stay off the roads in order to get to work, go the grocery store, or even get to the park. Because of our heavy use of roads for transportation and the congested nature of rush hour, Americans spend 38 hours stuck in traffic per year, according to USA Today; the average person is involved in an accident serious enough for a claim once every 10 years, according to Consumer Reports; and our lifetime chances of dying in a car accident are one in 112, according to the National Safety Council. Not only is there a huge risk of being involved in a car accident, but men actually have higher rates of skin cancer on their left sides because of the massive amount of time spent in cars, pickups, vans, and SUVs. With all the time we spend in cars and the relative regularity of being involved in an accident, it is surprising that few people know what to do in the event of a collision. If you have been injured in an accident, contact an experienced Kansas City, Missouri, car accident attorney today.
First Steps: Ensure Safety For All Those Involved
In the event of an accident, no matter how small, the first thing you should do is to move your vehicle off the road and onto the shoulder if you are able to. Obviously, if the accident was severe, this will not be possible, and may even be dangerous. The second step is to turn on your vehicle’s emergency flashers and to check for injuries in your own vehicle and then the other vehicles that were involved. Next, call for medical help if necessary and contact the police. If the injuries do not require your immediate attention, it is a good idea to also set up some road flare or a reflective triangle a hundred meters behind the crash site to warn other drivers to slow down and proceed with caution.
Once you have helped ensure that everyone is as safe as possible, take down and exchange the following information with the other parties: full name, phone number, driver’s license number, plate number, make and model of their car, address, and insurance provider. Additionally, get all the contact information that you can from witnesses to the accident, as their testimony may be crucial in the success of your claim if the other driver was at fault. Take photos of the scene. Once those steps have all been completed and you are back at home, contact your insurance provider. Secret arrangements with the other driver rarely work out, as the damage is almost always higher than expected and injuries can surface a day after the crash. Contacting your insurance provider is necessary in any collision where there is damage or injury, and is best done as soon as possible. Delaying contact and limiting information may actually decrease the amount of protection you are able to receive from them. The only time that you do not need to report the collision is when it is a single-car incident and the damage you did was to your own fence, tree, or other vehicle (such as pulling out of your driveway) and the damage was insignificant or less than the value of your collision deductible. If you have been involved in an accident, contact an experienced Kansas City, Missouri, car accident attorney today at the Krause & Kinsman Law Firm.