Posted on June 9th, 2016 by Zane Cagle
Do You Have a Fire Escape Plan at Home?
Do You Have a Tornado/Severe Storm Home Plan?
If the answer is “yes” to either of these two questions, you also need a plan should you or a family member ever be in a car crash.
Unfortunately, the odds of you being in a car crash are far higher than a house fire, yet, we don’t always plan for a car crash. Many just don’t want to think it could ever happen to us and, possibly that is the mindset that allows us to get into a car every day!
Each of us should drive defensively and follow all road rules in order to reduce our chances of being in a car crash, but each of us should know what to do in case of a car accident.
It Only Takes a Near-Miss Crash
Friends and acquaintances often ask me for guidance after they experience a near-miss car crash–they want to know what they should do if they are in a crash.
Like planning a fire escape route out of your home, it is good to know idea to how you would respond following a car crash.
Statistically–Each of Us Will be in a Crash of Some Kind in Our Lifetime
This is not comforting, I know. If you have never had to deal with a motor vehicle crash, then you are lucky. The car insurance industry estimates that a person will make a claim for a motor vehicle collision about once every 17.9 years if you are the average driver. No one likes to think of themselves as the “average” driver, but unless you are a professional driver we are all average drivers.
That being said, if you get your driver’s license at age 16, the odds are quite good that you will experience some kind of crash by the age of 34, at the latest. Over the course of a typical long, driving lifetime, you may have a total of three to four accidents. Hopefully, none of those are severe. Chances are these crashes will not be fatal.
There are approximately 10 million accidents of all kinds each year from parking lot scrapes to multi-vehicle pileups according to the National Safety Council. Therefore, one should think about the steps to follow after a car crash:
Steps Following a Motor Vehicle Crash:
1. Call 911
Call emergency personnel immediately. The minutes to wait to call 911 might be minutes that cost someone their life. Plus, you always want the police to attend to your car accident for documentation purposes if not for emergency purposes. Police not only make a report, they help keep you safe through directing traffic in order to avoid further crashes.
2. Seek Medical Treatment
It should go without saying that you need to see a medical professional as soon as possible. Some people can “overthink” a situation and think about insurance coverage rather than taking the ambulance or go to the ER. Don’t do this—get the professional help that you need!
3. Give the Officers Your Information
Just the Facts Ma’am–Give the officers clear facts such as “I saw” statements rather than “I think, feel or believe”. It is a highly emotional time after a car crash and the officers can only write down the facts. Officers are there for everyone’s safety including coordinating emergency vehicles, traffic and making an incident report.
4. Call a Personal Injury Attorney
At your first opportunity, contact an expert car crash attorney BEFORE talking with any insurance company. I cannot tell you how many people I talk to 3 months to a year after their crash and they wish they had consulted an attorney from the beginning.
5. Do NOT talk with an Insurance Company
Speak with an attorney before talking with any insurance company. Furthermore, if you are on any kind of pain medication that might impact your memory, it is not wise to talk to any insurance company and certainly, don’t make any big decisions.
Essentially, Don’t Make Any Decisions or Statements Until You Talk with an Attorney
Talking with an experienced motor vehicle accident attorney is easy and it’s free, thus it is silly not to take advantage of an attorney’s knowledge before you make any statements to any insurance companies. When we talk with someone injured in a crash, we tell them not to make any statements until they are clear-headed. We can file your injury claim and begin work to obtain compensation without you having to talk to the insurance company. So, so many people make the mistake of “oversharing” with the insurance company.
See our Five Mistakes to Avoid After a Car Crash in Missouri, it is applicable to Illinois motor vehicle crashes as well.
Our attorneys are available seven days a week for free consultations.
Call (314) 276-1681 for a free consultation.