The moments immediately following a car crash are filled with adrenaline and shock. In fact, because of these factors, many car wreck victims don’t realize that they’re injured until after they leave the scene.
If you can miss your own injuries, you’ll be amazed at the other details you can miss following a car accident. This problem is compounded by the fact that many people don’t know after-wreck procedures even under normal circumstances.
Add onto the swirl of emotions the process of assessing damage, exchanging information, and dealing with police officers, and many people forget critical steps they should take after they’ve been involved in an accident. Thankfully, we know those steps by heart. We understand that car wrecks are dramatic events, so in this blog, we’ll detail what you need to do immediately after a car accident in order to take care of yourself and maintain the legal protections you deserve.
1. Call an ambulance. Even if you don’t think you are hurt, injuries sometimes take time to reveal themselves. Therefore, having medical personnel check you out is always a good idea. Many times, EMTs can assess people at the scene without transporting them to the hospital. Either way, it’s better to be safe than sorry, especially when a personal injury settlement could be on the line.
2. Call the police. After an accident, you’ll want to file an official report. Without it, you’ll have a hard time making any claims about the accident. Having documentation, like an accident report, witness statements, insurance information, diagrams, etc. will also be very helpful to you and any attorney you may retain. It will be much harder to gather this information after the accident so do yourself a favor, call the police and let them document the situation.
3. Take pictures. You’ve heard the saying “A picture is worth a thousand words.” While you should obtain official documentation, pictures can show information that a police report can’t. Documenting the damage to all vehicles involved is very important because it can show who was responsible and where the accident occurred. It can also help clear up questions about the accident that may arise later. As a bonus, a picture can be a good way to save the other driver’s license plate number in case they decide to leave the scene of the accident before the police arrive.
4. Speak with witnesses. Many times, you and the other driver aren’t the only ones who saw the accident. If there were witnesses, talk to them and ask them to give their statements to the police. If you and the other driver disagree about what happened, these additional testimonies can clear things up. It may also be a good idea to get their phone numbers because witnesses may be needed to establish both liability (fault) and help your damage claim.
5. Exchange information with the other driver. After an accident, you’ll need the other driver’s phone number, their insurance company, and policy number. All of this information will be important when it’s time to file a claim or take the next steps if their insurance company doesn’t want to help you.
1. Contact your car insurer. It is a good idea to at least inform your auto insurance company about any accident you are in. Be careful of agreeing to a statement, however. Sometimes even your own insurance company might try to minimize your injuries and losses. It’s best to be honest without sharing too many details until you speak with a personal injury attorney.
2. Get medical treatment! Many times, if you are not bleeding or looking at bones sticking out of your skin, you may think you are “fine”. Unfortunately, this is not always the case as injuries take time to develop and adrenaline can hide pain. It’s wise to see a doctor who can document the collision/accident, and any new complaints that arose after it.
3. Write down Your wage loss. If your wreck keeps you out of work, even fora day, you should keep track of the hours or days you were not able to work because of the collision/accident and injuries. Later on, you may want to get copies of pay stubs or even tax records showing your lost income. This information can help you recover lost wages later on.
4. Consider calling a personal injury lawyer. You won’t need a lawyer for every car crash, but without contacting one, you may not know about all of your options. A lawyer can answer any questions you have and open your eyes to options you may not have known about. The best part is that most personal injury attorneys offer free consultations and will answer your questions at no charge, so you can get on a path to recovery.
Bonus: Understand insurance policies. You should learn about the different insurance benefits that may be available to you under not only the at-fault driver’s insurance but your own. Sometimes insurance requirements can be confusing, so it’s important to understand insurance now so you’ll be prepared if you do end up in a car wreck.
We understand that car wrecks are always dramatic and, unfortunately, sometimes traumatic events. That’s why if you’ve been in a Boulder, Colorado car accident, we’re on your side no matter how serious or minor it was. Your accident is probably worth more than the insurance company is offering, and we want to help you get it. Call us now at 720-805-1193 and claim your free consultation so we can help you evaluate your case and choose the best course of action.