Over 6.45 million accidents took place in the U.S. during 2017. The majority caused only property damage, but just under 1.89 million involved injuries and 34,247 involved fatalities. Excessive speed and impaired driving with the two most common causes of fatal crashes.
That’s a lot of crashes. Usually, crashes at higher speeds cause more damage and injury. NHTSA estimates that 25.5% of accidents take place on two-lane roads. Highways that have three or more lanes are the most common area for an accident at 51.9%. The odds of being in a crash on the interstate is high, and you need to know what to do if you’re in one.
Stay Still, if Possible, and Remain Calm
Hopefully, your injuries are minor. You should stay in your car in case other traffic crashes and is pushed into you. In the winter, ice and snow squalls can lead to chain reactions. Being outside of your car is dangerous. If you cannot stay in your car, go to a high point up a bank that’s well away from traffic.
If you have injuries, which is likely, seek medical car. Call 911 if you can. If not, don’t worry about it because a witness or other driver will be doing that too. Don’t move if possible. You could have spinal or neck injuries that you’re not feeling because of the adrenaline and shock.
Stay as calm as you can. That’s harder when you’ve just been in an accident, but it’s important. If you can take deep, calming breaths, do so. If it hurts, do the best you can. Some people find that mental calculations of math patterns like two and two, four and four, etc. helps as a distraction. This also helps if you’re trapped in any way and have to sit still while the car’s metal framing is cut away.
Wait for paramedics to arrive and follow their instructions. The neck brace or backboard they opt to use may be uncomfortable, but it’s for your safety. If it’s recommended that you go to the hospital, don’t let worries about the cost of medical bills keep you. Auto insurance will pay for medical bills. If the other driver is at fault, that driver’s policy is responsible.
Talk to the Police
Talk to the police and file a report. If you’re able, take photos for your insurance company. Get photos of all cars, the area, and property damage that occurred. Take photos of your injuries if you can. If you’re unable to do so, don’t worry as the police will get photos during their investigation.
Keep a copy of the accident report you receive. Keep copies of photos, witness and driver information, and other information pertinent to the accident.
Call Your Insurance Company
Call your insurance company to file a claim. If the other driver is at fault, your agent will file the claim against the other insurance company. Make sure you tell your agent as much information as you can. Send copies of the photos and give the agent contact information for any witnesses.
An investigation to determine fault will take place. It can take a few weeks for the estimate for repairs or the estimated cost of a replacement car. If you’re renting a car, make sure that’s noted. Once the investigation is complete, you’ll get a settlement offer. It’s time to decide if that offer covers the expenses you’ve accrued by missing work, seeing the doctor, paid towing bills, and found a replacement vehicle. The settlement needs to cover all of your expenses not just some of them.
The Realities of the Cost of a Car Accident
Any car accident has costs you are quickly aware of. There’s the cost of repairing or replacing the car. There are medical bills. If the accident results in damage to someone’s fence, mailbox, or house, there’s also the repair or replacement of that personal property. On a highway, guardrails, signs, and barriers may need replacing.
Accidents also have costs you may not think of. If gasoline or oil spills all over the road, they have to be properly cleaned up. Some districts are starting to charge that cost to drivers of vehicles in the accident. If you can’t work for a week or two, there’s the loss of wages. You may also find yourself responsible for paying for add-on technology like remote car starters, upgraded stereo equipment, or upgraded floor mats and seat covers.
Even when you’re in no way responsible for an accident, the insurance company may look at everything possible to see if you can be assigned any of the blame. You need to have an expert in car accidents on your side. In a highway crash, you are very likely to have serious injuries. Your car is likely to be totaled. You probably need time to recover, but you’ll have to spend that time trying to find a replacement car.
Stress is not good for your emotional or physical health. It’s also hard to avoid after a serious car accident. Make sure you’re not shortchanged when it comes to an insurance settlement. Talk to an attorney who specializes in car accidents on highways to ensure you’ve been given the settlement you need to pay your medical bills, cover your lost wages, pay for property damage, replace your car, and also cover pain and suffering.
Jordan, Herington & Rowley never charges you for the initial consultation to determine if you have a viable claim against another driver. Let us help. Call at any time to discuss your possible options with our Denver personal injury lawyers.