It is hoped that you will never have to deal with the aftermath of an auto collision. Unfortunately, hope is simply not enough—car insurance industry experts estimate every adult driver in the United States will file a claim for a car collision approximately once every 17.9 years. This means for those who acquired their driver’s license at age 16, the odds are fairly good they will have some type of crash by the time they reach the age of 34.
This also means that over the course of a “driving lifetime,” every driver will have between three and four car crashes. While these collisions may or may not be deadly, they will be costly. In 2010, the average claim for injuries and damages resulting from a car collision was a whopping $23,450. There are things you can do to lessen your chances of having your “quota” of accidents, as well as things you can to prepare yourself for the inevitable car accident.
To lessen your chances of being involved in a car accident, Forbes says all drivers should consider the following tips:
- Never drive impaired—more than a third of all fatal accidents in the United States can be attributed to drunk drivers.
- Never drive during these times—The deadliest three-hour periods on American roadways are between midnight and 3 a.m. on Saturdays and Sundays.
- Always keep your eyes on the road—distracted driving causes a significant number of auto accidents and fatalities resulting from those accidents.
- Slow down—According to the NHTSA, as many as a quarter of all fatal accidents have excess speed as a component.
- Avoid congested areas when possible—fewer intersections result in fewer auto accidents, and when accidents occur in congested areas, they are more likely to be deadly.
Even when you have taken every precaution possible to avoid an auto collision, you could still meet your quota of car accidents—after all, not every other driver on the roadways is doing his or her best to avoid a car crash. Should you be involved in an automobile accident, it is a good idea to know what you will need to do. Preparing for an auto collision while you are calm and can think clearly is far better than having it happen and having no idea what to do. Create a plan now, so you know what to do if you or someone you love is involved in an auto collision. Consider the following as a part of your plan for dealing with the aftermath of an Anchorage, Alaska car accident:
- Never, ever, leave the scene of an auto collision until the police have arrived and have given you the okay to do so. If you leave the scene of an accident, you can end up looking guilty—even if you are not—plus, it is illegal to leave an accident scene.
- If the other driver left the scene of the auto collision, write down all the information you can remember about the driver, his or her vehicle, and a license plate number, when possible. Note the direction the driver went when he or she left the accident scene.
- Never admit fault. Once the police officers arrive on the scene, do your best to remain calm, stating the bare facts of the accident. Do not admit fault and do not even say “I’m sorry,” as this can be taken as a statement of fault. In the same vein, do not blame anyone else or make any type of speculative statement. Certainly, you should never deliberately give false information in a car accident report. Doing so can result in a fine as large as $1,000, imprisonment for up to a year, or both.
- Dial 911 immediately. You need the police so you can have an accident report, and if there are any injuries, you need an ambulance as well. Dialing 911 ensures both arrive quickly.
- Even if you think you are not seriously injured, it is always a good idea to have yourself checked out medically. The adrenaline rush you experience during a car accident can prevent you from fully realizing the extent of your injuries. Injuries may not manifest for hours, days, or even a week or more. Make sure everyone at the scene, including yourself, receives medical treatment.
- If the police do not arrive in a timely fashion, make sure you fully document the scene of the accident. If damages to property are not greater than $2,000, the police may not come to the scene. If the police do not come, you may have an obligation to report the accident to law enforcement, submitting a written report to the Alaska Division of Motor Vehicles. Failure to report an accident can result in hefty penalties, including suspension of your driver’s license until you file the report, and misdemeanor charges, punishable by a fine as large as $200, imprisonment for 90 days, or both.
- Even if the police do show up, if you are medically able, take photographs of the scene of the accident and obtain contact information, insurance information and driver’s license numbers of all drivers involved in the accident. It can make you feel uncomfortable to approach a driver and ask for this information—remember, you are legally entitled to the information, and the other driver must give it to you.
- If there were any eyewitnesses, obtain names and contact information. This may not seem all that important at the time of the accident, but down the road, should you have to file a personal injury claim, this information can be invaluable. Witnesses offer unbiased, third-party testimony, hopefully, to back up your own version of the accident.
- Notify your own insurance company and give them the facts of the accident, with no embellishment. Do not give a recorded statement until you have spoken with an Anchorage, Alaska car accident attorney. Take notes on all conversations you have with insurers.
- Remove your personal items from the vehicle if it requires towing—you may not have the opportunity to do so later.
- Keep careful records of all your medical expenses, including hospital bills, doctor bills, prescription drug costs, rehabilitative therapy costs, surgical costs, and any other costs associated with your car accident injuries.
- Keep a daily record of every single detail associated with the aftermath of your car accident. Even the smallest detail could end up being extremely important. If your injuries prevent you from engaging in your normal daily activities, keep careful notes about this.
- Do not talk with other people involved in the accident since they could potentially have an accident claim against you.
- Never accept a settlement before speaking to an experienced personal injury attorney.
- Speak to a knowledgeable Anchorage, Alaska personal injury attorney sooner, rather than later. Doing so will keep you from inadvertently doing something that could jeopardize your future claim.
At Kelley & Canterbury, we focus exclusively on personal injury claims. We comprehensively represent those who have been injured through the negligence or recklessness of another person or entity. We help Alaska residents get back on their feet by obtaining equitable compensation for their injuries. When you contact Kelley & Canterbury, we will bring our entire team in on your claim, ensuring you receive the very highest level of service. We understand the anxiety and stress you may be feeling following your accident and that you are likely worried about your finances, particularly if the accident left you unable to work.
We want you to have peace of mind following your accident, and we want you to have the time to heal while we handle the legal details of your claim. If you have been injured in a car accident in Anchorage, Eagle River, Chugiak, or Palmer and have been involved in a car accident, call us to schedule an appointment today. If we do not obtain compensation for you, you pay nothing for our services. Contact Kelley & Canterbury today.