Health&Wellness Magazine May 2016 - Page 22

& May 2016 | Read this issue and more at | –COLUMN PROVIDED BY– Like us @healthykentucky LEGAL HELP 22 859.333.3333 | 1344 S. Broadway, Suite A, Lexington, KY 40504 10 Things You Should Do If You Are Involved In A Car Accident By Kevin Renfro, Becker Law Office Car accidents are scary experiences, but knowing in advance what to do if you’re ever involved in one can help you protect yourself and your rights. Here are the top 10 things you should do if you are involved in a car accident: 1. Get to safety as soon as possible. Put on your emergency flashers, place orange safety cones or light flares to alert other drivers of the accident, check on the other driver(s), passengers and any pedestrians involved, and then if possible, move to safety out of the flow of traffic. Take pictures of the vehicles before moving them if you can do so safely. 2. Never leave the scene of an accident, even if it is a minor fender bender. You could be charged criminally for leaving the scene of an accident. 3. Call 911 and request police, even if it is a minor accident, and definitely in the event of significant property damage, injuries or death. Ask for a written police report to be completed of what happened, where the vehicles were positioned, and what was claimed at the time of the accident, should a formal claim need to be filed. Ask for the name, badge number, and phone number of the police officers responding to the accident scene. You should also request the number of the police report so you can obtain a copy for your records. 4. Be polite at the accident scene. It’s easy to be upset after a car accident, but do not accuse another driver of fault, and never admit fault, even if you believe you caused the accident. You may be admitting legal liability and there may be other circumstances about which you are unaware that caused or contributed to the accident that are not your fault. Do not give your social security number to anyone, even the police officers. It is not necessary for you to provide your social security number to anyone at the accident scene, nor is it necessary to have a police report completed or an insurance claim filed on your behalf. 5. Exchange information with the other drivers. Record the name, address, phone number, date of birth and email address of all drivers, as well as their automobile insurance information including the name of the insurance company, the insurance company phone number, policy number and the named insured. It is also a good idea to get the automobile registration information of the vehicles involved in the event a vehicle is registered to someone other than the driver. Also note the make, model and color of any vehicles involved in the accident including their license plate state and number. 6. Record the contact information of all passengers and any witnesses including their name, address, phone number and email address, and write down what they believe happened, where they were at the time of the accident, and what they saw. 7. Record your account of the accident including taking pictures and videos. Most of us carry some kind of smart phone so use the camera to take pictures and videos of the location, the accident scene, and any traffic signals or signs. Record the time of day, traffic conditions at the time of the accident, weather, and road conditions (i.e. wet from rain; construction zone, etc.), and anything else you can remember about what happened before the accident occurred. Were other drivers driving aggressively or driving distracted? Were you driving in rush-hour traffic, or stop and go traffic? Do not wait to record your account of the accident because it is easy to forget important details if not recorded as soon after the accident as possible. 8. Seek medical attention right away, even if you have minor injuries or when you do not believe you are hurt. Some injuries do not appear until a day or two after an accident, and it is important to have an immediate record of seeking medical attention after an accident. 9. Notify your insurance company immediately after the accident. Most insurance companies have 24/7 claim centers so you should call as soon after the accident as you can. Be honest about what happened because insurance coverage may be denied if your insurance company learns you were not truthful about the accident, or if you are uncooperative during its investigation. Provide your insurance carrier with all the information you gathered at the scene. You have a duty to cooperate with your insurance company, and they have a duty to provide benefits under your insurance policy. 10. Keep detailed records of all emergency room visits, doctors’ appointments, physical therapy, chiropractic care, prescriptions, and any other treatment, medicines, or devices, related to the treatment from your car accident. Keep the police report and any other paperwork concerning your car accident together in one place for easier reference in case you need to make a formal claim. If you are injured, consider speaking with an attorney experienced in handling car accident injury claims to find out your rights and to ensure your damages are compensated. About the Author Kevin Renfro, attorney and managing partner of the Becker Law Office has over 23 years of experience. He works diligently to get fair settlements for clients as quickly as possible. Cases range from automobile collision and premises liability to products liability and nursing home abuse. For Kevin, the work is about leveling the playing field for regular people against large corporations. He holds an AV rating fro