According to Statistic Brain Research Institute, there are an average of 5,400,000 non-fatal car accidents every year. Despite our best efforts to promote proper driver’s education classes and discourage any sort of irresponsible or distracted driving, data indicates that the number of fatal car crashes increased by 5,000 between the years of 2009 and 2013.
The importance of continuing to promote safe, conscientious driving habits cannot be overstated. However, it is also important that we consider the implications of these statistics and realize that even with all of our preventative measures, it is entirely possible that we may end up in a car accident at some point. Because it is impossible to predict the future, it is always better to be prepared. Our mid-Missouri car accident lawyers are here to help you prepare for the worst with this quick overview of what you should do if you are in a car accident at the Lake of the Ozarks.
Step 1: Stay At The Scene Of The Accident
We cannot stress the importance of this enough. If you leave the scene of the accident, you can be charged as a hit-and-run driver and face potentially serious criminal repercussions. Turn on your hazards and, if possible, move your vehicle off to the side of the road. Dial 911 and wait until a police officer arrives at the scene. You should also assess all passengers for any injuries and call for an ambulance if necessary.
Step 2: Watch What You Say (And What Info You Give)
Exchanging information and apologies is certainly acceptable, but be careful how you phrase things; you don’t want to say anything that could indicate admitting responsibility for the accident. (If you are deemed “at-fault,” your insurance will have to pay for the damages and you will likely see an increase in your premiums.) Also, be careful not to give out too much personal information to the other party; you don’t want to risk exposing yourself to possible identity theft. Do not give out your social security number, your driver’s license number, or your home address to the other drivers.
Step 3: Get The Other Party’s Car Insurance Information
The insurance companies representing all parties involved will have to work together to determine who should be responsible for the damages and how to work out the payment process, so you have to exchange insurance information at the scene of the accident. If you do not have proof of insurance in your vehicle with you, the officer may allow you to bring proof of insurance within twenty-four hours. (However, you may be ticketed for not carrying proof of insurance.)
Step 4: Take Pictures
If you are in stable condition and you have some extra time at the scene of the accident, it doesn’t hurt to snap a few photos of the accident and the damages caused. Any evidence you can gather to help prove you innocence in the situation will save you a lot of time, money, and stress in the long run.
Hire An Experienced Car Accident Attorney
If you are being unfairly or inaccurately charged “at-fault” for an auto accident in Lebanon, MO, we encourage you to contact one of our experienced car accident lawyers for representation. We can help you build a solid case to protect your driving record, your insurance premiums, and your compensation for any required medical attention. Give us a call to learn more!