What to Do if You’re in a Car Accident

A car accident is an extremely stressful life event and it’s easy to forget what you need to do. This article reviews what you need to do at the scene of the accident and after the accident to ensure that you have the best chance of recouping your losses.

Nationwide, the number of people injured in motor vehicle accidents each year is quite appalling. According to the NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Commission), over 2.5 million people are in car and truck accidents each year. The NHTSA states that over 41, 000 people were fatally injured as a result of motor vehicle accidents in the United States in the year 2007. The victims fatally injured in car and truck accidents include pedestrians, motorcyclists, bicyclists, truck drivers, drivers and passengers of cars.
For the majority of Americans, the probability of being in an automobile accident is very high. In fact, injuries sustained in motor vehicle accidents are a leading cause of death for Americans no matter where they live in the country. In the State of Oregon, car accident statistics reflect those of the rest of the country and are equally as shocking. In the year 2007, there were 44,162 motor vehicle accidents in Oregon state alone. Approximately 411 of those resulted in a fatality.

Being involved in an auto accident is an extremely stressful event and it’s hard to remember what to do when you’re in shock. It can also be confusing trying to figure out what to do once the initial accident has been dealt with.
Here are the steps you need to take at the scene of the accident:
• Call 911 if there are any injuries. 
• Move to a safe location if you or your car is creating a safety hazard or if you're concerned about your safety in your current location. 
• Call the police and follow their instructions. 
• Do not leave the scene of the accident before trading insurance information.
• In minor accidents, the police may instruct you to exchange information and then contact your insurance company.
• Do not discuss who is at fault with other parties. 
• Do not disclose your policy details. You should only share your driver’s license number, the name of your insurance company, your insurance policy number and the phone number of your insurance company. 
• Get contact information from any witnesses.
• Make notes about the details of the accident including the time of day, weather and road conditions, lighting, location of vehicles, crossroads, stop signs, and traffic signals.
Here are the steps you take after the accident:
• Contact your insurance company, report the accident and give them all the information related to the accident.
• Each state has slightly different regulations regarding your rights when it comes to auto repairs.  Your insurance company should be able to help you with this but if you still have questions, contact the office of your state’s insurance commissioner.
• Be sure to keep all quotes, receipts and even make notes of who you talked to, when you talked to them and a summary of the call.
• Contact a personal injury lawyer if you are not able to resolve your claim quickly and to your satisfaction.
Auto accidents kill an alarming number of people in the United States and cause serious injury to even more. For those unfortunate enough to be involved in a motor vehicle accident, there are both emotional and physical repercussions. Whether you were a driver, passenger or a pedestrian, if you have been injured as a result of a motor vehicle accident you are entitled to compensation for your pain and suffering, medical expenses and lost wages. Contact an experienced personal injury lawyer in order to receive compensation for your injuries.