Car Accident Aftermath
Car accidents are both an unfortunate and surprisingly common part of our everyday life. Unfortunately, accidents involving pedestrians make up a significant part of these life-changing events. According to the National Highway Traffic Administration, in 2010 alone, 4,280 pedestrians were killed, and an estimated 70,000 were injured. At these rates, on average, a pedestrian is killed every two hours, or injured every eight minutes in traffic accidents in the U.S.
Because of how prevalent pedestrian-involved car accidents are, it is important to know what to do if one happens. Understanding what to do and being prepared for it ahead of time can make a huge difference, especially because most people are very emotional and unable to think clearly immediately after an accident.
At the Scene – Immediately Following the Collision
The first thing to do after the accident is to make sure that everyone is alright. If the accident is serious and you are able, call 911. Look for nearby street signs or building addresses so you can give an accurate description of where you are. Tell them whether there are any injuries, and how serious they seem.
Always stay at the scene of the accident, especially if there are injuries. If you leave the scene of the accident, you could face criminal charges for hit and run.
At this point, it is important to make sure that everyone is stable until emergency personnel reach the scene.
At the Scene – Aftermath
Once things calm down and everyone is out of immediate danger, people involved in the accident and witnesses might start to talk about what happened. Make sure that you do not admit to being at fault, or apologize for what you did. It is common for people to want to make amends after such a stressful event, even if they have done nothing wrong. Apologizing, however, could be used as an admission of legal liability.
Make a note of who was present at the scene, including the other people involved in the accident, any witnesses, and police officers. Make your own notes about injuries and other property damage. If you have a camera or phone and can take photos, do so.
Following the Accident
Soon after the accident, you will need to report it to your insurance company. Be careful with what you say. While they pride themselves on covering you before an accident happens, once one does occur, an insurance company’s primary goal is to minimize their own financial liability. They will often offer a settlement that they say will cover all of your losses from the accident. However, injuries from a car accident often remain latent for months, making such a settlement unsatisfactory.
At Hancock Injury Attorneys, we have found that insurance companies often pay almost triple the amount of money to accident victims if the victim is represented by an experienced auto attorney, such as Mike Hancock.