Auto Accident Checklist

AT THE ACCIDENT SCENE

1. Stop immediately, but do not block traffic. Warn oncoming automobiles. Telephone the police.

2. Assist anyone who may be injured:

a. Call for an ambulance or arrange for other transportation to a
hospital or doctor if needed.

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p style=”text-align: justify;”>b. Tell the investigating officer about the injuries.

c. Cooperate fully with the doctor and medical staff.

3. Unless your vehicle is creating the potential for another accident, do not move it or the accident debris until you are instructed to do so by the investigating police officer.

4. Do not discuss the accident with anyone other than the investigating police officer, your doctors, your own insurance representatives and your lawyer.

5. Make written notes of any statements made by the driver or occupants of the other vehicle as to how the accident occurred.

6. Get the name, address and phone numbers of the driver of the other vehicle. Copy the driver’s license number of that driver. Write down the license plate numbers of each vehicle involved. Exchange automobile insurance information with the other driver.

7. Get the names, addresses and telephone numbers of any witnesses.

8. If you believe the driver of the other vehicle may have been under the influence of drugs or alcohol, tell this to the investigating police officer.

AFTER LEAVING THE ACCIDENT SCENE

9. Contact a law firm with experience in handling personal injury cases. At Kraft & Associates, we will be glad to give you free advice and helpful information, with no obligation.

10. Telephone your insurance agent.

11. Take photographs of the damage to your vehicle and of any injuries to yourself and others in your vehicle.

12. See your doctor if there is any chance you may have been injured. Serious injuries do not always cause immediate pain.

Keep calm, don’t argue, don’t accuse anyone and don’t admit fault.

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Avoid Auto Accidents

Switch on your headlights before sunset.

Many accidents occur after the sun has set but before night has fallen. To make your car more noticeable to other drivers, switch on your headlights at least one-half hour before sunset. Many drivers fail to do this because they do not see any better with their lights on. However, the point of switching on your lights is not to see better, but to be seen.

Be careful on wet roads.

When roads are wet, your car can fall victim to “hydroplaning” — skidding on water. If this happens, you can lose control of your car just as badly as if you were on ice. Do not slam on your brakes, because that can cause an even more severe skid. Instead, slowly bring your car to a halt turning the steering wheel in the direction the rear end of the car is skidding.

Take plenty of breaks on long trips.

It is very easy to fall asleep when you are driving long distances, and that can be fatal. Be sure to stop every two hours or each 100 miles and take a break. Heavy meals can make you drowsy, so eat light snacks along the way and wait until you are finished driving to eat dinner.

Speed limits can vary.

If you are on a road with a speed limit of fifty-five miles per hour, for example, and the weather is wet and foggy, you must slow down. The top speed you should drive under those conditions may be only twenty-five or thirty miles per hour. If you cause an accident because you are driving faster than that, even though the posted speed limit is fifty-five miles per hour, you could find yourself in a lot of trouble.

Check the rear view mirror if you stop suddenly.

If someone slams into the rear end of your car at high speed, the accident may be all their fault, but the injuries will be all yours. If you are forced to stop suddenly, check your rear view mirror. You may have just enough time to steer clear of what is coming up behind you.

Wear your seat belts at all times.

In spite of all precautions you take, accidents can still occur. To reduce injuries in a collision, never drive or ride in a car without first buckling your seat belt. Be certain all others in your car have their seat belts fastened also. Infants and young children should always ride in child safety seats.

Types of Auto Coverage

Bodily Injury Liability

If another person is injured because of your carelessness or the carelessness of someone driving your car, this coverage typically requires your insurance company to pay the claim. The company’s obligation is limited, however, to the amount of coverage you purchased. For example, if your liability limits are the minimum of $20,000 per person and $40,000 per accident, your company will pay no more than $20,000 to each injured person and no more than $40,000 total for any one accident.

Property-Damage Liability

This is similar to bodily injury liability except that it covers damage to another person’s property rather than physical injuries. The company’s obligation to pay also is limited to the amount of coverage you buy.

Comprehensive

This category of protection generally requires your insurance company to pay for damage to your car caused by something other than an auto accident (for example, fire, theft or vandalism). The company’s obligation to you will be limited by the amount of any “deductible” you may have purchased. A $100 deductible means that you pay the first $100; the company pays the rest.

Collision

Your insurance company pays for damage to your car caused by an auto accident. Deductibles also are common with this coverage.

Personal Injury Protection

Your company will pay the reasonable medical expenses of anyone in your car who is injured in an accident. Under this coverage, it does not matter who was at fault in the accident. You and most members of your household need not be in a car for this coverage to apply. For example, you also would be covered if struck by a car while you were a pedestrian. A portion of your lost earnings are also covered by this type of insurance. As with liability insurance, the company’s obligation is limited to the amount of coverage you buy.

Uninsured Motorist

If an uninsured driver injures you or other occupants of your car, this coverage will pay your claims for physical injuries. It serves as a substitute for the bodily injury liability insurance that the other driver did not have. This coverage also is limited to the amount of insurance you buy. As with personal injury protection coverage, payment is not limited to automobile occupants.

Underinsured Motorist

If a driver injures you or your car’s occupants, and his liability insurance is insufficient to cover the full value of your claims for physical injuries, this coverage will make up the difference. Again, your company’s obligation is limited to the amount of coverage you purchase. Like personal injury protection and underinsured-motorist coverage, it is not limited to automobile occupants.