If you’ve been in a car accident, it’s very easy to become disoriented. Accidents can be frightening. You may be injured. But there are some steps you should take in the immediate aftermath of a car accident that is very important to your safety and well-being. It’s useful to know these steps now so that if an accident occurs you will know what to do.
1. Call the police
The first step you should take is to call the police. Local the local police for the area where the accident occurred. You need to do this whether you are injured or not. They not only will assist you, but they will interview you, any other drivers, and witnesses to determine what took place. They will file a police report, with this information and a description of what took place.
Should you want to take legal action to recover damages from the accident, a police report is a very important piece of evidence. It is also a very important document for any insurance claims.
2. Exchange information with the other driver(s)
If your accident involved another vehicle, exchange information with the other driver or drivers. Give them your name, e-mail or phone number, and your insurance information. Get the same information from them.
3. Take pictures
One of the best records anyone can have of an accident is pictures. Eyewitness testimony is, frankly, widely known to be unreliable — and, what eyewitnesses see depends on their vantage point and perspective. Injuries can heal and fade. Damage to property, including the vehicles, can be fixed.
Fortunately, the age of the cell phone has made it very easy for many people to take pictures at any time. If you have a cell phone or camera, take pictures in the wake of an accident. Take multiple pictures of your car, to show the damages. You want a record of the extent of them and where they are. You want to take pictures of any injuries you incurred, from cuts to bruises. Remember, this may not remain physically evident, and you want a clear record of them when they are fresh.
Then, take pictures of the surrounding area if it could show the trajectory of the accident. Skid marks or damaged property, for example, can establish how fast a car was going and if it was obeying traffic laws.
4. Seek medical attention
Go to a doctor or emergency room immediately if you are injured during an accident. It’s imperative that you protect your health and safety and get treatment. You may need a course of treatment or surgery, and it’s important to begin as soon as possible.
It’s wise to make a doctor’s appointment even if you don’t feel injured. Doctors can assess your overall condition. If you hit your head, you should visit the doctor even if you don’t feel pain or an injury. Concussions may not be apparent to you, but they can be fatal in the worst-case scenario.
A doctor’s appointment can also serve as a record in case you want to pursue a legal case. Doctors, hospitals, and other medical bills are recoverable in the event of a lawsuit if the other party is determined to be responsible for the accident.
5. Call your insurance company
Minnesota is a “no-fault” state, which means that most people who have been in an accident will be compensated by their insurance companies. Provide your company with the details of the police report. Have your policy number ready.
Do You Need a Car Accident Attorney?
Despite our state’s “no-fault” rule, it is possible to bring suit against a driver who caused an accident if you ultimately are forced to pay $4,000 or more in medical expenses that a reasonable person would deem necessary due to the accident and/or you are on 60 days of disability, or have received a permanent injury or permanent disfigurement caused by the accident.
Do you need legal advice after a car accident? Contact us today.
Posted by Rogosheske, Rogosheske & Atkins