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Unfortunately, when getting behind the wheel, you’re always open to the possibility of an accident on the road. Indeed, you don’t even need to be in the vehicle for it to be damaged by another driver. Even something as simple as a drunk driver hitting the vehicle or you forgetting to engage the handbrake when your SUV was in the driveway can indirectly cause an accident.
How Frequently Do Accidents Occur?
In the U.S., around 6 million accidents occur annually. A significant percentage of people involved in an accident suffer injuries, many of which are permanent ones.
When it comes to the cause of accidents, there’s a reasonably even split between drivers under the influence, reckless driving and going over the speed limit. The worst cause of accidents is usually being under the influence with bad driving practices being almost as bad.
Some states are worse than others for drinking-related accidents. For instance, in Louisiana just in 2016 alone, there were 124 deaths due to high intoxication levels and 298 drivers lost their lives with some amount of alcohol in their system.
Also, texting and not paying attention is frequently the cause of single-vehicle accidents. Checking and responding to messages can take your eye off the road for almost 5 seconds on average.
What Should You Do If You’re in an Accident?
Should you find yourself in an accident, understand that it’s a shock. You may not feel any pain right away due to the shock but may be injured, perhaps seriously.
Check for Injuries
The first thing to do is to assess if you can see any injuries either to yourself or fellow passengers. Determine if you’re going to need to call an ambulance to be taken to hospital.
Contact the Authorities
Contact the Police on 911 to get them to attend the scene. If another driver was involved, they may also do so. Sometimes neighbors can call for you if you cannot get a cell signal.
The authorities will take images of the scene, note down personal details, where and how the accident occurred according to the driver(s) involved and take any witness statements too.
Insurance details between the drivers are usually swapped to make an insurance claim later.
Recover Video and Take Photos
Taking your own photos and recording video at the scene is very useful later. Some drivers dispute what happened to avoid a claim on their insurance. Don’t rely on what the authorities capture – gather as much proof as possible for later use. Also, if you have a dashcam, pull the footage too.
When to Get Legal Representation
When it comes to car accidents, getting legal representation from a car accident lawyer is essential for a better outcome.
Making an insurance claim yourself and against another driver’s insurance is a tricky business. All insurance companies wish to minimize claim payouts whereas an attorney representing you has the law on their side and can negotiate without heady emotions clouding their judgment.
If you’ve recorded some video, taken photos or there’s dashcam footage, forward that media onto the attorney as they may find it useful. Getting involved in an accident is no minor thing. It’s mentally and emotionally as jarring as the accident itself. Make sure you get proper representation just in case you were more seriously injured than you thought at first and need adequate compensation for future medical expenses.