You may be feeling overwhelmed and uncertain about what to do next. It’s important to know that you are not alone and that there are experienced professionals who can support you through this time.
At Martin Conti Law, we have dedicated personal injury lawyers who will guide you through the process and ensure that you receive maximum compensation for your injuries. We know that the steps you take immediately after the accident will significantly impact your ability to file a claim, which is why we have compiled some tips to help you.
It’s also important to be aware that insurance companies are often looking for any excuse to deny your claim or reduce your settlement. That’s why having an experienced attorney on your side can make all the difference.
If you’ve been in a car accident, call us today for a free consultation. We’ll answer all of your questions and help you navigate the legal process.
Step 1: Check yourself and your passengers for injuries
After a crash, carefully check yourself for any visible injuries. Even minor impacts can cause serious bodily injuries. If you’re seriously injured then ask someone nearby to call 911 and try to remain as still as possible until emergency responders arrive.
If not, then carefully check your passengers for any visible injuries. Any young children in car seats shouldn’t be moved since they could have unseen injuries.
Step 2: Get to safety
If your car is still drivable then move it out of the flow of traffic and turn on your hazard lights to warn other vehicles.
If your car isn’t still drivable, then leave it where it is and get yourself and your passengers to safety. Young kids, pets, and the elderly should not be left in a hot car after any car accident, minor or not.
Step 3: Call 911
Even if none of the people involved appear to be injured it’s important to call 911 after a car crash—in Colorado it’s legally required. If the police don’t respond to the scene of the accident, you have up to 60 days to report the crash to the Colorado Department of Revenue Division of Motor Vehicles.
While it may be tempting to simply make a deal with the other driver, Colorado is an at-fault state. This means that you can request that the at-fault driver’s insurance to pay for your medical bills, even for minor collisions. Having an official accident report could help ensure that you get financial compensation.
Step 4: Document the details
While you’re waiting, make sure to take photos of anything that could potentially be helpful for your claim, including:
- damage to yours and the other driver’s cars
- damage to any public property
- nearby landmarks
- where the accident occurred
- any bodily injuries
Gather any general information that you’ll likely need for your claim, including:
- Yours and the other driver’s license number
- Each vehicle’s license plate number
- The type, color, and model of each vehicle
- Each driver’s insurance card information
- Each driver’s name and contact information
- Each passenger’s name and contact information
- Names and contact information for any witnesses
- Time and date of the accident
- How the accident happened
- Where the accident happened
- Details from just before the accident
- What happened immediately after the accident
- What the other driver said afterwards
DO NOT discuss fault with the other driver or emergency personnel once they arrive.
Step 5: Stick to the facts
When emergency responders arrive on scene tell them exactly what happened without bringing up whose fault it might be. Even saying “I’m sorry” could be used as proof of you admitting fault for the collision.
Step 6: Seek medical attention
After the crash, make sure to seek medical attention as soon as possible even if you believe that you don’t have any injuries. Adrenaline from the crash could have been masking more serious injuries. Not to mention that without an official diagnosis from a doctor who is able to document how the collision could have affected any pre-existing conditions, the insurance company can claim that your injuries aren’t able to be considered in any financial compensation.
Even then, if you don’t follow all of your doctor’s instructions to the tee—this could also signal to your insurance company that you might not be as injured as you claim.
Step 7: Contact your insurance company
Even if you don’t seem to at fault for the collision, you should still report what happened to your insurance company as soon as possible. Both to protect yourself from the other driver making a claim against you and if you have medpay coverage (optional coverage under your own insurance policy that pays your medical bills)—because you have to submit any medical bills from after the accident.
When contacting your insurance agency, be sure to find out what documents you’ll need for your claim and the deadline for filing them. Keep these documents and the receipts for any accident-related expenses in the same place for the remainder of your claim.
The other driver’s insurance company may try to convince you to give a recorded statement of what happened, but do not agree until you’ve spoke to an experienced personal injury lawyer. Anything you say in that statement can be used to try and pressure you into a settlement much lower than you deserve. On the other hand, you have a contractual duty to cooperate with your insurance company. If you refuse to cooperate with your insurance company, then they could deny you any coverage under your policy.
Hiring the right legal representation can get you awarded money for:
- Medical expenses
- Rehabilitation expenses
- Long-term care costs
- Future medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Loss of future earnings
- Loss of enjoyment in life
- Pain and suffering