It can be a frightening experience to be involved in an automobile accident. Following your accident, you can find yourself stressed out and overwhelmed by the list of things you have to do in order to take care of many facets of your accident. Your first steps following your car collision can ultimately affect the reimbursement you receive from your car insurance company-or, if the accident was the fault of the other driver, their insurance company. Here’s what to expect when you are injured in an accident and all of steps you’ll need to take:
Calling the Police and Getting Medical Attention
After calling the police-please do not skip this step no matter how minor your accident seems-you should determine how serious your injuries are, and seek treatment for those injuries. In far too many cases, those who have just experienced a car accident are full of adrenaline, which can mask the symptoms of very real injuries. Even if you think you are "fine," following your car collision, see your doctor and have your doctor perform a complete examination.
Many times following an accident, injuries can manifest days, or even weeks later, particularly neck and back injuries. Pain, discomfort, dizziness or numbness are all signs that you need to immediately seek medical attention. Getting necessary medical attention as quickly as possible following your accident is not only the best thing for your health, it will also strengthen your personal injury claim.
What to Do While at the Scene of the Accident
At the scene of the accident, if you are not severely injured, you need to take the following actions:
- Ask the police officer when the police report will be available, and where you will be able to pick it up.
- Take photographs at the scene of the accident if possible, including the damage to your vehicle, the position of the vehicles following the accident, photographs that include weather conditions and any other photograph which might eventually help your personal injury claim.
- Make sure you get the other driver's insurance information as well as their address and phone number.
- Jot down any other information you think might be helpful-if there were witnesses to the accident, write down their names and addresses as well.
Do Not Admit Fault Following Your Auto Accident
Following your accident it is extremely important that you not admit fault to anyone, including the other driver or the police. Even saying "I'm sorry," can imply you have something to be sorry for, and that the accident was your fault. Let the police officer determine whose fault the accident was, after you tell him or her your side of the events leading up to the accident.
Contact Your Insurance Company
Once you are home, you will need to contact your insurance company and let them know about the accident. Again, do not admit fault, rather give them only the basics of the accident. Ask about what you need to do to get your car repaired. You will likely have to meet with an insurance adjuster who will assess the damage to your car, or you will be asked to get three quotes from local body shops with an estimate of how much it will cost to repair the damage to your vehicle.
Make No Statements to Insurance Companies
If your insurance company (or the other person's insurance company) contacts you, do not make a statement, and absolutely do not sign anything until you have had a chance to speak with a personal injury attorney. An experienced personal injury attorney can assess your case, providing your options. Your attorney can also speak to the insurance company on your behalf to ensure you receive an equitable settlement amount. If the settlement offer is not fair, your attorney may advise you to file a lawsuit. The mere act of filing a lawsuit may convince the insurance company to increase their settlement offer-if not, you may actually have to go to court, which can take months or even as long as two years, in some cases, to settle.
Keep Records, and Contact an Experienced Colorado Personal Injury Attorney
Following the accident, make sure you keep detailed records of everything pertaining to the accident, including all medical receipts and a journal or daily diary about your injuries and medical care. These details can be an invaluable resource for your Colorado personal injury attorney, who will use them to obtain the best settlement possible for your injuries and your future.
Contact Our Denver Car Accident Attorneys
We know that car accidents can be very frightening ordeals. We also know that injured accident victims may have many questions following a car accident. As such, our Denver car accident lawyers are here to help you answer those questions and obtain the money you need to fully recover.