Even the most defensive and alert driver can find themselves involved in a motor vehicle accident. It’s important for all drivers to be prepared for this. After all, the average driver, over a long driving career will experience between three and four accidents in their lifetime.
It helps to be prepared before an accident happens.
- It hopefully goes without saying but be sure you have adequate Underinsured Motorist (UIM) insurance as well as Personal Injury Protection (PIP) on your policy. While liability insurance is required under state law in Washington, UIM and PIP can make the difference between a full recovery and no recovery.
- Keep your insurance information and registration in an easy to locate place (such as your vehicle’s glove box).
- Keep a vehicle safety kit in your car including road flares.
If you are involved in an accident, consider doing the following:
- Move to a safe area if you can. (Do not leave the scene of the accident!)
- Stop your vehicle. (Put on your hazard lights and consider setting out road flares)
- Call the police and report the accident.
- If you are injured, inform the police that you are injured and seek medical care.
- Exchange information with the other involved drivers.
- Phone Number
- Insurance Information
- Take photographs of the damage to all vehicles if possible.
- Do not argue with any other driver at the scene. Do not admit to any wrongdoing.
Once you are safely away from the scene and have had your immediate medical needs addressed, call your insurance company and report the accident to them. At this point, speak with an attorney about your rights and prospects for recovery.
Over the next few days, be conscious of your body. Many people involved in a car accident do not feel some or any of the symptoms of their injuries until the following day or days. If you feel any symptoms that you think may be related to the accident, tell your doctor.
Additionally, make sure your doctor knows what hurts and talk to them about your job requirements. Even if the accident was no fault of yours, you still have a duty to mitigate your damages and that includes not exacerbating your injuries by engaging in activities your doctors have recommended against.
Do not discuss your injuries with anyone, other than your doctors, until you’ve spoken with an attorney. The moment you get in a motor vehicle accident, assume that anything you post online will be viewed by the at-fault insurer so consider setting your social media to private.
Most importantly, take care of yourself and give your body and mind an opportunity to heal.