Car accidents remain one of the most significant reasons for injuries in Colorado. If you’re ever involved in one, what you do immediately afterward could help or hurt your personal injury case.
At Arckey & Associates, we are well acquainted with the intricacies of car accident claims. Here, we break down the crucial steps to take, post-accident, to help your case and improve your chances of securing just compensation. This will cover what to do at the scene of a crash, as well as the days after.
Essential Steps Right After a Car Accident
1. Ensure Your Safety
Accidents can be sudden and traumatic. In such instances, it’s crucial to focus on your safety. If possible, move your car out of traffic. If you are not able to move your car, or safely walk away from traffic, remain in your car until first responders arrive.
2. Call 911
Always call 911, even if your injuries seem minor. Police will investigate the crash and create a police report. This could be crucial evidence for your case if the insurance company blames you for the collision. Request paramedics when calling 911. Even if your injuries feel minor, it is important to get checked by medical professionals. Injuries may be worse than you think due to the immediate stress and adrenalin of an accident.
3. Document the Scene.
If you are able to safely do so, take photos of the vehicles, any injuries, and the surrounding area. This includes any signage, road defects and guardrails. Sometimes the city maintaining the road could be partially responsible. These could be pivotal evidence for your case.
4. Gather Information.
Collect contact information and insurance details from all the parties involved in the accident. The investigating officer should provide a case number, make sure he or she provides this to you. Don’t forget to get the names and numbers of any witnesses.
Steps In the Initial Days After a Car Accident
5. Seek Medical Attention
It is important to go to your primary care provider (or emergency room for more serious injuries) as soon as possible after an accident. The sooner you get a check-up, the more difficult it will be for the insurance company to claim that your injuries were unrelated to the accident. Some injuries will not be noticeable on the day of the accident, but as the adrenalin wears off, the extent of your injuries will be more apparent. A medical care provider will be able to assess your injuries, determine if you need emergency medical attention, and give recommendations on future treatment. This will not only help with your recovery, but your case as well. Medical professionals will document your injuries, and those records create a clear picture to provide to the insurance company. If the initial care provider recommends future treatment, such as physical therapy, it is important to follow through with their recommendations. This will lead to a faster recovery and show the insurance company you are serious about recovering, which will help your case.
6. Contact Your Insurance Company
You are required to tell your insurer that you were involved in an accident. Part of your car insurance contract states you will cooperate with them, and it could hurt your case if you do not do so. However, you should not agree to a recorded statement without first speaking to a lawyer. Your own insurance company may try to obtain information or get you to answer questions in a way that protects their own exposure to a claim. You must cooperate with your own insurer, but you should politely insist that you speak with an attorney before providing anything more than basic details.
When it comes to the other driver’s insurance company. You should contact an attorney and have them start the claim process. The communications with other driver’s insurance will be more adversarial, and they may try to use any information you give against you, even if it seems like basic details regarding the crash or your injuries.
7. Document Lost Income
In Colorado, if you miss work or lose income because of a car crash caused by another, you are entitled to compensation for this loss. Document your lost work by saving bank statements, pay stubs, and communications with your work about time off. Don’t forget that you are also entitled to compensation for using paid time off or vacation time.
8. Call an attorney.
You should always consult with an attorney before filing a claim or agreeing to speak with the at-fault driver’s insurance adjuster. Your lawyer will handle all of this on your behalf. Your lawyer will put in the work with the insurance company, and negotiate on your behalf, so you can concentrate on your health.
Questions About What to Do After an Accident? Call Us – (303) 900-8441
If you or someone you care about has experienced an accident in Colorado, reach out to the lawyers at Arckey & Associates. We’re here to guide you on the steps to take following an accident and will support you during the entire claims process. Our first consultation is always free, and our fees are contingency-based. This means you owe nothing unless we get a settlement for you.