Before people are in an accident, there are three steps they can take to help minimize complications from happening.
According to the Oklahoma Highway Safety Office, more than 68,000 car crashes occurred in Oklahoma in 2014. More than 2400 of those crashes resulted in incapacitating injury and over 500 resulted in death.
Regardless of how defensive drivers are, accidents can occur without any warning. Distraction, inebriation, mechanical error, recklessness, traveling over the speed limit, tailgating and weather each can create a situation in which people suddenly find themselves facing unexpected medical costs, lost time from work and other challenges. Fortunately, there are three steps you can take to prepare for the unexpected.
1. Review your insurance policy
Insurance is required for drivers, but oftentimes people do not know what coverage they have. Additionally, and often, people purchase the minimum required coverage to save money, but this can be a mistake. To make sure your insurance coverage will be adequate, you should sit down and consider what you and your family’s needs might be after an accident. For instance, someone who does not own a second car may want to add rental car coverage. Provisions to cover towing expenses may be handy too.
I would strongly encourage you to purchase Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage (UM/UIM). You can purchase this coverage in the same limits as your liability coverage. This coverage protects you and your family against bodily injury caused by another driver who is without any insurance or without sufficient insurance to cover your injuries. Given that 1 in 4 Oklahoma drivers are uninsured, UM/UIM coverage can be invaluable personal injury coverage. It is also a good idea to consider Medical Payments Coverage, which provides payment for medical bills incurred as the result of an accident.
2. Be mindful of what you say
One thing people should understand is what they should and should not say following an accident. Any accident can be traumatic and it can be difficult for people to keep their wits about them. This might lead a driver to say something that could later be used against them, such as “I didn’t see you,” or “I am so sorry,” or “I am not hurt.”
It’s best to say as little as possible. If you are able, first ask about how the other people involved are doing. Secondly, if asked about your own injuries, respond with something like “I am pretty shaken up right now.” In this way, if an injury later surfaces, as is common in automobile accidents, you will not have jeopardized your claim for compensation.
3. Create an accident kit
Some people already keep a first aid kit in their vehicle and maybe a blanket. However, American Family Insurance points out that you should also include things like a flashlight, pen and paper, insurance policy copy, a disposable camera and a list of numbers for local law enforcement agencies.
Additionally, you should also keep a list of allergies you have, which can be used by first responders. An accident form is also a helpful item to document when the accident occurred, all involved parties, the weather conditions, location, injuries and other important information.
If you or someone you know has been in a car accident, before you speak to an insurance adjuster, you should consider contacting an attorney. An attorney can explain what you need to do and help you through the process of seeking appropriate compensation.