Preparing Your Family for an Emergency Situation
You’re walking through the parking lot of your local grocery store, trying to grab a few things for dinner and head home to your family, when a hurried driver fails to yield at the crosswalk and strikes you with his vehicle. Suddenly, you find yourself in the back of an ambulance, on your way to the hospital with a painful injury to your leg and an aching wound on your head. Are you prepared?
Most families aren’t prepared for the unexpected. It’s much easier to convince yourself that those freak accidents will never happen to you or your loved ones. Yet the CDC National Center for Injury Prevention and Control listed unintentional injuries as the leading cause of death of people ages 1 to 44 during the years of 2005 to 2011. So, when you find yourself faced with the unthinkable, the proactive actions you’ve taken ahead of time — and the reactive choices you make following the accident — can have a huge impact on your family’s future and well-being. To help you better prepare, here’s a list of some things to consider:
Proactive Actions to Take
- Health Insurance
Having health insurance for you and your family members can save you from unimaginable medical bills following an accident. Make sure your health insurance cards are up-to-date and with you at all times. Also, a written list of health insurance information (company name, policy number, contact information, etc.) should be kept in a safe place within your house in case someone needs to find it following an emergency.
- Life Insurance
Life insurance is so often looked upon as an unnecessary monthly expense, but in reality, life insurance is a necessity if your family depends upon your income to survive. The right policy can also help your family pay off debt, pay for day-to-day expenses, or even leave an inheritance to your children.
- Important Medical Information
In the case of an accident, you may not be able to speak, so if there’s any important medical information medical personnel might need to know in order to better treat you or a family member, you should document that information ahead of time and keep it somewhere safe, such as in your wallet near your ID. Information to document might include allergies (especially to medication), previous injuries or surgeries, chronic medical conditions, or even contact information for a family member or close friend.
- A Last Will and Testament
It’s not something anyone likes to think about, but having a will prepared is incredibly important when you have a family. If you don’t have a will, upon your death, the state would decide what to do with your money, your things, and your children. Preparing a will ahead of time will ensure that your wishes are carried out and your family is taken care of in the way you see fit.
Reactive Actions to Carry Out
- Seek Medical Help
The most important thing following an accident is seeking medical attention. Even if you don’t feel or look hurt, you should be checked by a physician as soon as possible to make sure there are no hidden injuries. Also, keep an eye on lingering effects that may occur, such as memory loss, headaches, and forgetfulness.
- Seek the Assistance of an Attorney
Once your health is secure, contact an attorney to determine whether you should pursue a personal injury lawsuit. Because the statute of limitations varies from state to state, the sooner you find an attorney, the better. Personal injury cases include things like tripping/falling accidents, animal bites, workers’ compensation, road traffic accidents, and much more.
- If Possible, Obtain Documentation of the Accident
Pictures and videos of the accident scene, injuries, persons involved, and witnesses can be very helpful to the police, insurance companies, and attorneys as they sort through the information.
- Communicate Openly and Honestly with Authorities
When speaking with medical personnel, police officers, or lawyers following an accident, it’s crucial that you are forthcoming and honest in regards to all information you know or remember about the accident. This information is important to your medical treatment, recovery, and any lawsuits that may ensue.
It isn’t easy to prepare for the unexpected, but it’s also not impossible. Follow these tips to help you and your family feel ready and secure in the instance of a crisis.