Car accidents can wreak havoc on lives. Not only can car accidents cause serious bodily injury and sometimes permanent disability, but they can also cause a lot of financial problems through property damage, lost wages, etc. They also cause stress, anxiety, and duress. Many people think that if someone else hits them, they’ll be fine–the other person’s insurance will take care of everything. This isn’t always true. In the February 2017 Newsletter, I discussed six things you should do BEFORE an accident. In this article, I will focus on 11 things to do AFTER an accident.
- Check for injuries and make sure everyone is ok. Call an ambulance if needed.
- Stay at the scene. You can be charged with a crime if you leave the scene, especially is someone is injured.
- Call the police, even if it is a minor accident. Having a police report is helpful to determine liability.
- Tell The Truth and Don’t Apologize. Everything you say is probably going to be written down in a police report. If it wasn’t your fault then don’t say it was and don’t apologize. Just give an accurate and detailed witness statement. It will likely be used later to help determine liability.
- Take pictures. If possible to do safely, take pictures of the accident before cars are moved. However, it is important to stay safe and move the vehicles to the side of the road. If you weren’t able before, take pictures once the cars are moved.
- Exchange Information. It is important to know who all was involved. Don’t rely on the police to preserve the information. They are usually pretty good but mistakes do happen. Write down the names, contact information, and license plates of all parties involved, including witnesses.
- Seek Medical Attention, It won’t cost you anything initially. All insurance policies have PIP, which covers a minimum of $3000 of medical care after an accident. Many people don’t seek care because they are worried about paying for it. For purposes of the case, it is important to document your injuries as well. Seek medical care from a certified injury professional. Not all doctors are the same and know what to do after an accident. We can refer you to our recommended professionals if you like.
- Contact Your Insurance Company. Report the claim to your insurance company at your earliest convenience. Many people think if they were not at fault they don’t need to file a claim. That is not true; you do need to file a claim. Utah Law states that your premiums will not go up if you file a claim for which you are not at fault.
- Seek Legal Advice. Almost all personal injury attorneys offer free consultations. Seek advice early on. We can steer you away from common pitfalls and tell you if you do or do not have a case. Find a qualified attorney who focuses on personal injury, not your neighbor or church member. Personal Injury Law is just as specialized and complicated as any other area of law. Insurance companies will try to convince you not to seek an attorney…because they don’t want you to have one. Protect your own rights.
- Do Not Sign Things Without Reading Them. Many times insurance companies try to get you to sign things that are prejudicial to you. For example, sometimes they slip in a full release of your bodily injury claims in the property damage papers. Make sure you are reading everything or hire an attorney before you have to sign anything.
- Keep a Journal and Accurate Records. Lots of things will happen all at once and you think you’ll remember everything later, but over time you will start to forget things. Keep accurate records and notes in case you need to recall details later.
About The Author
Mr. Kober has been handling injury cases for over a decade. He is recognized as a Certified Motor Vehicle Occupant Injury Specialists by the Personal Injury Training Institute as well of one of the Top 40 Under 40 by the National Trial Lawyers Association. He was also recently nominated as one of the “10 Best” Personal Injury Attorneys in the State of Utah by the American Institute of Personal Injury Attorneys He can answer any questions you have and provide excellent legal representation.
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