Monday, April 20, 2015

9 Steps to Take Following a Car Crash

There are more than 10 million auto accidents in the United States annually, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. These stark numbers are padded in large part by the growing rate of distracted driving (i.e. texting while behind the wheel), driving while under the influence (DUI), drowsy driving, and other auto-related offenses. Indeed, one in three Americans reported to AAA earlier this year that a family member or loved one has been seriously injured or killed in a car crash.

In Las Vegas and Clark County alone, there are hundreds of auto accidents a year. So, if you find yourself in this situation, what should you do? Here are some top tips to protect yourself and others around you.

1. Stay on the scene.
Your adrenaline is probably pumping after you’ve been involved in a collision. For some, your natural instinct is to pull away, whether you’re at fault or not. Stay there. Nevada law requires those involved in a car accident to remain on scene, ensure all involved are uninjured, and exchange information with all others involved.

2. Check for injuries.
Check to see if yourself, your passengers, or those in the other car(s) involved in the collision are not harmed. Call 911 for assistance if there are any injuries.

3. Move your vehicle to the side of the road and turn on your hazard lights.
You run the risk of another collision if you remain in the roadway. Do not exit your car while on the road. If it’s possible to drive the car, pull over to the side of the road and turn on your hazard lights.

4. Speak with the other driver and exchange insurance information.
The information you’ll need includes:
  • Name
  • Address
  • Phone number
  • License plate number
  • Make, model, and issue date of the other car
  • Insurance company and policy number
Your insurance company will need this information to process your claim. Keep the conversation simple. Do not admit fault or guilt -- even “I’m sorry” can be used again you down the line.

5. Gather evidence.
Take photographs of your car, focusing on the areas that have been affected by the crash. If witnesses are still around, ask them for their contact information to follow up afterward if you need to provide more details on the collision at a later date.

6. Speak to police.
If the police were called to the scene, be sure to get the information of the officer attending to the crash. Their name and badge number should be sufficient. Ask them for a crash report number if it’s available.

7. Call your insurance company and file your claim.
Call your insurance company so they can start processing your claim immediately. They should be able explain the process.
8. Keep your receipts.
If you were injured in the crash and required medical care, or if your car needed repairs at the auto shop, be sure to keep all of those receipts and diagnoses.
9. Hire an attorney.
If you’ve faced hardship and injury as a result of the crash, you could be eligible to recover compensation. An experienced attorney can help you figure out your best course of action and what you might expect. Also, if you have to fight with your insurance company, a lawyer will be able to provide assistance.

Have you been involved in a car accident in Las Vegas, NV, or the surrounding counties? Consider contacting De Castroverde Law Group, based in Las Vegas, NV. Our experienced attorneys can guide you through the complicated process following an auto accident.