WHAT YOU SHOULD AND SHOULD NOT DO AFTER A CAR ACCIDENT
If you or a loved one has been involved in an automobile collision in Missouri, we are deeply sorry. In this post we’re going to discuss some of the common mistakes we’ve seen people make after a car accident and what you should do immediately after being involved in a collision.
6 COMMON MISTAKES PEOPLE MAKE AFTER A CAR ACCIDENT
- Not taking pictures of the vehicles involved
- Not asking the police to come to the scene or make a report – A police report documents the facts of the occurrence
- Speaking with insurance agencies after the accident before speaking with an attorney -You don’t want to give a statement to an insurance company because they’re not on your side
- Admitting fault – It’s natural to feel bad after an accident, but we urge you to resist the desire to admit any fault until an attorney is involved. Any fault you admit, even small details, could be used against you in court.
- Leaving the scene – This is one of the biggest and most consequential mistakes people make. If you leave the scene without making a report, the other driver could blame the accident on you or you could be charged with a hit-and-run.
- Not getting medical care right away – Your medical care and records from that care will be used as a diary of your pain and suffering in your case. There’ll be exhibits before your trial and if you wait too long before the date of your trial and the date of the accident to get care, that could be used against you by the insurance companies and their lawyers
At Cantor Injury Law we can help you get the care you need after a car collision. Even if you don’t have any insurance, we have doctors that we work with on a regular basis who can provide you with proper medical care.
WHAT TO DO AFTER A CAR ACCIDENT – 8 STEPS
This may sound self-explanatory, however, one should be reminded to NEVER leave the scene of an accident, no matter how minor. The vehicles should remain where they are and you should either stay in the vehicle or just outside of it. The only exception to this rule is if the vehicles are in immediate danger. If they’re in the roadway and are at risk of causing another collision due to oncoming traffic, you can move the vehicles to the side of the road. This will help ensure no additional damage is done.
You’ll also want to talk to the other driver involved and make sure they’re ok. If you notice serious injuries, immediately call 9-1-1 to alert emergency services.
Even if there are no serious injuries and it is not a major accident, it is a good idea to call the police. You may need a police report to file a claim with your insurance company, even if it is just to make a claim for damage to your vehicle. Further, a police report will help make a record of the facts surrounding the accident. In the report, always be truthful—never speculate or guess what happened. If medical attention is needed for anyone on the scene, let the dispatcher know when calling the police or 911.
If possible, you should take pictures of the vehicles if there is visible damage. If you have visible injuries, you should photograph them as well.
4. EXCHANGE INFORMATION.
If the police do not respond to the accident, you should obtain the name, address and telephone number of all persons involved in the accident, drivers and passengers alike. You should also obtain insurance information for all vehicles involved. If there are any witnesses, you should get information from them as well so that you or your attorney can contact them in the future. If police respond to the accident, the investigating officer usually will provide all drivers with a police report number. You can use that number later to obtain the police report. Make sure to know what agency investigated the accident (local police, sheriff, or highway patrol).
Notify YOUR insurance company as soon as possible. Many policies require immediate reporting and full cooperation. Typically, your insurance card will have a toll-free number to call for accident reporting. Check with your insurer to find out what benefits are available through your policy. Some policies carry “medpay” provisions that may help in paying any medical bills you may incur.
Many times, injuries caused by motor vehicle accidents are not immediately apparent, mostly due to the stress and adrenaline rush from being in an accident. May people report feeling the most pain a day or two following an automobile accident. Unless you are absolutely certain you were not injured, you should seek medical attention at your local emergency room, urgent care, or family physician. Even minor accidents can cause serious and permanent injury to your spinal cord. Closed head injuries sometimes result from minor accidents as well.
Keep all your accident-related documents and information in a file. This file should include a claim number, the claim adjuster who is handling the claim for both your insurance company and the other drivers involved, names and phone numbers of all contacts and witnesses. Keep any expenses such as a rental car or medical related expenses in this file.
Perhaps the most important thing you should do after an accident is to consult an experienced personal injury attorney. They can protect your rights and make sure valuable evidence is not destroyed. It is common for the adjuster for the other driver’s insurance company to want to get a recorded statement as soon as possible after the accident. It is imperative that you have received legal advice before providing such a statement. Your attorney can help you navigate all of the issues surrounding a personal injury claim ranging from how to make sure you are fully compensated for your vehicle, how to make sure you are getting the best medical treatment available, and adequate compensation for your injuries. The attorneys at Cantor Injury Law have 30 years of experience doing just that. If you have been in accident, contact us immediately at 314-628-9999 (St. Louis) or 573-240-9999 (Columbia).
PRINT THIS INFOGRAPHIC TO KEEP IN YOUR CAR
When in a high stress situation, you may forget what to do or skip a crucial step. To help alleviate some of this stress, we created an infographic that tells you exactly what to do after a car accident. Keep this in your dash so that you’re prepared in case misfortune strikes.