By nature, accidents of any sort are unexpected, but this doesn’t mean you can’t be prepared. According to a blog posted by the New York Times, 1 in 84 people will be involved in a car accident at some point in their lives. Although most car accidents are not fatal, studies show that approximately 44,757 people die in automobile collisions every year in the United States. If you rely on a vehicle for transportation, keep the following steps from Kansas City’s best personal injury attorneys at Kuhlman & Lucas, LLC to be ready for a wreck and subsequent insurance claim.
Preparing for a car accident is easy. First, make sure that your glove box (or other secure place in your vehicle) contains proof of your auto insurance. You insurance card is the best way to demonstrate proof of insurance, but some providers can use electronic means to show your coverage as well. However, failing to carry your insurance card can result in legal penalties. In the event of a collision, you will also need to exchange your insurance information with the other driver.
Similarly, always keep a copy of your vehicle registration in your car. If you are unable to demonstrate that your car is registered, you could face legal consequences. Never let your vehicle registration expire – in the event of an accident, you could face legal penalties.
Finally, put together a car accident kit to use at the scene of an accident to gather information for your claim. In the kit, provide the following items:
- A pen
- Paper or a notepad
- A disposable camera
- Important phone numbers (spouse, emergency contact, family, etc.)
- First-aid materials
You can also include roadside emergency tools in your kit, such as flares, jumper cables, a tire gauge, and a fire extinguisher.
What to Do After a Car Accident
Safety is your priority. In the event of a car wreck, make sure that you are safe and that anyone else involved in the accident (drivers, passengers) are unharmed. Then, call emergency services. If anyone is hurt, administer first aid until help arrives.
If you are able, remove your vehicle from the flow of traffic and turn on hazard lights to warn other drivers of the wreck.
Once everyone is safe and your car is away from the road (if possible), you can start investigating the accident. Take notes using your pen and notepad; focus on the specific details of the accident that might help you file an insurance claim:
- The location of each vehicle
- Damage to your car
- Any injuries
- The date and time of the accident
In short, write down any relevant information. It is better to be thorough; if you are unsure about the importance of any information, write it down anyway. You can also document any property damage incurred by your vehicle during the accident. Use a disposable camera – or camera phone if you have one – to take pictures of any dents, scrapes, or major damages. During an insurance claim, you can use these photographs to show the insurance company that the accident damaged the vehicle.
Before you leave the scene of the accident, speak with law enforcement, the other driver, and any witnesses. Write down contact information for witnesses (if they are willing to give it to you), the involved law enforcement officers, and the other driver. Additionally, remember to exchange insurance information with other drivers.
A very important tip from Kansas City’s best personal injury attorneys: After a car wreck, never apologize. In the event of an insurance claim or car accident lawsuit, statements like “I’m sorry” can be used against you. Even a nonchalant apology could be taken as an admission of fault.
When to contact your insurance agent: Call your agent as soon as possible. If you suffered an injury, let your insurance company know immediately; even before you visit the doctor, if you are able. When you talk to your provider, always be honest. Do not hide anything about the accident; it could result in a denied claim.
Even more importantly, speak with Kuhlman & Lucas, LLC, Kansas City’s best personal injury attorneys, as soon as possible. If you are confused about your rights after an automobile accident, a lawyer can help you understand your legal options. The Kansas City personal injury attorneys at Kuhlman & Lucas, LLC have an in-depth understanding of car accident claims and lawsuits. Let us put it to work for your case.
Fill out our online form or call us at (816) 463-4455 for a FREE initial consultation from Kansas City’s best personal injury attorneys, Kuhlman & Lucas, LLC.