The Holidays are such an amazing time of the year. Everyone is shopping for gifts, buying that special outfit for parties, loading up on groceries for holiday feasts, and traveling to and from friends and families homes to celebrate the season.
This time of the year is magical, but sometimes automobile accidents happen because there are inattentive drivers who may be rushing doing last minute shopping, are not paying attention to pedestrians or cars while backing up from stores, are running late, are sleepy, or have had too much to drink. This certainly puts the brakes on the Holiday spirit!
So what do you do if you unfortunately get in an automobile accident during the Holidays? Here’s some tips!
- Try not to panic.
- Most automobile accidents catch victims off-guard. You weren’t expecting the gift of being struck after all. Try to keep your cool and pay attention to your surroundings and what is transpiring.
- Make sure you check yourself for injuries.
- Did you immediately feel pain in your neck and back after the accident? Are you nauseous and have a headache? Do your arms, shoulders, or legs hurt? Some other sort of symptom? Make a quick mental note of your immediate symptoms and let the police and fire rescue know.
- Make sure your passengers are not injured, this includes pets.
- Ask everyone in the vehicle with you if they feel any pain and check pets for injuries. Just like above, have passengers make mental notes about their immediate symptoms and let the police and fire rescue know.
- Call 911 to report the crash and let them know you need fire rescue (ambulance) if needed.
- You should always document that you were involved in an accident, even if it’s a minor one. Just because there may be minimal damage to your vehicle, that does not mean that you and your passengers have not sustained injuries to your bodies. Additionally, calling the authorities will assist you in potentially getting your vehicle fixed in the future, as they will typically document any property damage in a police report.
- If you are hurt and think you need to go to the hospital, go!
- Once Fire Rescue has come to the scene, if you feel you need to be seen at the hospital right there and then, don’t hesitate to tell the paramedics you need to be transported. Make note of what hospital they are transporting you to by letting a family member or friend know or texting yourself the name of the hospital. If the emergency physicians do any diagnostic testing (X-rays, MRI, CT scans) notate what exams were done and what the findings are.
- Document the scene of the crash.
- If you are able to and it’s safe to take photographs and video of the scene, snap away! As the saying goes, pictures are worth a thousand words!
- Do the same for property damage to your vehicle, the vehicle you were a passenger of, and the vehicle that caused the crash. If there are any other vehicles involved, take photographs and video of their damage too. Make sure to snap a quick photograph of the vehicle who caused this accident’s license plate, in the event they try to get away. If you have experienced any damage to phones, laptops, or other property inside the vehicle, be sure to note the damage.
- Document witnesses.
- Jot down or text message yourself any names and phone numbers of witnesses to the crash.
- Make a mental note of what witnesses said they saw and make sure you provide the authorities with their information should they leave the scene before the police arrive.
- Exchange information with the drivers of the other vehicles involved in the crash.
- Ask for their full name and contact information. Ask for their driver’s license number. You can take a photograph of their driver’s license if they provide that to you.
- Obtain the information pertaining to the insurance of the vehicle they were driving, including the name of the insurance company and the policy number. If you can, take a photograph of their insurance card too.
- Notate the make, model, and color of the vehicle they were driving.
- Notate the names of any passengers in their vehicle too.
- Try to pay attention to what the driver and passengers of the vehicle that caused the crash say to you.
- Did they confess to causing the crash? Did they apologize? Do they smell like alcohol or appear impaired? Were they texting or on the phone? Make a mental note of their comments, appearances, and actions and tell the police what they said or what you observed.
- Don’t leave without documentation from the police.
- Make sure you get a copy of your driver’s exchange, or short-form police report, or police report number and name of the police officer or sheriff who came to the scene and made the report before you leave. You will need this information in the future to make a property damage claim or bodily injury claim, or both.
- Ask for towing, if needed.
- If your car appears to be unsafe to drive or is no longer operational ask for it to be towed. If towed, jot down or text yourself the name of the tow company and where your vehicle is being towed.
- Contact the applicable insurance companies.
- Call the insurance company for the driver who caused the accident and your insurance company too and tell them you were in an automobile accident. Open a claim and advise them how the accident happened, the parties involved, and whether you sustained injuries. Be aware that you will likely be recorded.
- Seek treatment if you are hurt.
- Feeling pain? Seek treatment as soon as you can with a hospital, urgent care facility, primary care physician, chiropractor, or other medical provider. Make sure you tell them you were involved in an automobile crash and that you were injured as a result. Provide these providers with the date and time of when the crash happened and how it happened, along with any other pertinent information about your symptoms immediately after the crash.
- Have minors in the vehicle with you that were injured too? Make sure they seek treatment too, if injured.
- Need assistance with your bodily injury claim or property damage claim? Call me, attorney Melissa Dwyer, or any of the other ten attorneys at our firm, Keller, Keller, Caracuzzo, Cox and Belluccio, P.A. at 561-655-3133. You will get to speak with one of us right away! We will provide you with over 100 years of combined legal experience in presenting bodily injury, uninsured motorist, and property damage claims against insurance carriers and start the ball rolling on compensating you for your losses from the crash.
I hope the above is helpful to you all! Remember, never drink and drive this Holiday season or during any time of the year. Call a ride-sharing service, sober friend or family member, or taxi to help get you home safely instead! Also, if you are in a pinch and cannot find a method to get home safely, keep in mind that AAA’s “Tow to Go” for the Year-End Holidays! AAA is offering free towing assistance again this year, as it has done for the last 25 years! They will tow you and a passenger and your vehicle within a 10-mile radius. Keep in mind that it may take some time for them to arrive, so this service should be used as a last resort. These services are available from December 23rd until 6 a.m. on January 2, 2023. Some areas may not offer this service. Call 855-286-9246 (855-1-TOW-2-GO) to take advantage of this service.
Wishing you all a Happy Holiday and a Happy New Year!