Accident Plan - What to do after an auto accident...
Motor vehicle Accidents (MVAs) are a leading cause of accidental death and injury in the nation. If you, or someone you know, have been injured in auto accident, here are the steps you should follow:
- Turn off your engine to minimize the risk of fire.
- Get out of your vehicle. Although you must remain on the accident scene, remove yourself from further danger by getting out of your vehicle and out of traffic. If possible, collect information about the accident at the scene, or as soon after as is practical.
- Call 911 for police or medical assistance. Even if there are no injuries, assistance may be necessary to clear the accident scene, handle traffic, and file an accident report. Tell the police if any party is injured or has left the scene of the accident. If the police fail to arrive at the scene, go to the local police department to file the appropriate information. If the other vehicle left the scene of the accident, it is very important to give the police whatever information you were able to obtain (license plate number, description of vehicle and driver).
- Exchange Information no matter who is at fault. Exchange names, addresses and insurance information, and help the injured at the scene of an accident. Include time and place of accident; weather and road conditions, and other circumstances of the accident; of those involved, including other drivers, passengers, witnesses, etc.; driver's license number, insurance company and policy number of other drivers; vehicle make and model, and license plate number of other involved vehicles; name, department and badge numbers of responding police officers and a copy of the police report.
- Don't sign anything except a ticket, citation or report issued by police. Never sign anything else at the accident scene. Signing some documents jeopardizes your rights.
- Obtain medical attention as soon as possible. Shock and trauma can mask serious injuries. Following first-aid treatment you may receive at the scene, follow up with your doctor of chiropractic for a complete examination, even if you "feel" fine. EMS and ER technicians are trained to make sure that your breathing and not bleeding. Most soft tissue injuries are ignored as non-life threatening and are not fully addressed, except for pain medications and muscle relaxants. Once out of the emergency room follow-up with your chiropractic physician to evaluate and treat your soft tissue injuries with therapy and rehabilitation. Most people develop symptoms such as headache, dizzyness, neck and back pain hours or days after an accident.
- Call your insurance company and give them all the information you have collected. If you were injured or if your car was damaged, your insurance company needs to be notified "promptly" in order to conduct their investigation into the claim and coverage. Your claim may be denied by the insurance company if there is no or late notice. For this reason, it is wise to follow up with a written notice.
- Don't discuss the accident. Except for giving necessary details to police, medical personnel, your insurance company, or your attorney, don't discuss the accident...especially with insurance companies or lawyers representing others. Refer inquiries to your insurance company, your doctor, or your attorney.
- File a report with the police, if not already done.