7 Steps You Should Take Right after Being in a Car Accident

Henriksen LawAuto Accident Attorney, Personal Injury

Direct involvement in a car accident isn’t as uncommon as you think – and dealing with the aftermath is rarely easy. Findings from ASIRT reveal that over 38,000 people die each year in crashes on U.S. roads. Another 4.4 million get injured seriously enough to require medical attention.

It’s often difficult to think clearly after being involved in a car collision. However, what you do immediately to protect yourself, your passengers, and others on the road can have a huge impact on your car accident case. 

Ask any experienced Utah accidental injury attorney and they will tell you that you should take certain steps soon after being in a car crash. This will help ensure that everyone is safe and that you’re adhering to Utah state laws in order to seek compensation.

Right after being in a car accident, here’s what you should do. 

1) Check for Everyone’s Safety

The first thing to do after being in a car crash is check if everyone is safe. Turn on your car’s emergency flashers and exit your vehicle, if possible and safe to do so. 

If the accident is serious, and you find that you or someone in your vehicle is injured, call 911 and inform them of the accident. They will send an ambulance and the police to the site of the collision. 

In case of a minor accident, you should still contact the police helpline. This is crucial since you may want to get a police report later on. 

If you have flares, set them up and switch on your hazard lights to alert other drivers around you to slow down. Additionally, make sure you remain present at the accident site until law authorities allow you to leave. 

2) Get Yourself to Safety

If the accident wasn’t serious or you weren’t injured, drive your car to safety (i.e. to the side of the road). This will help the traffic flow smoothly and safely. However, if the crash was a serious one or if someone is hurt, leave your vehicle where it is.     

Sometimes, injuries from an accident may not be apparent right away. Even if you don’t think you’ve sustained injuries, be careful when exiting your car. This is especially true if the accident has occurred on a busy street or a highway. Exercising caution can go a long way in keeping you out of harm’s way. 

3) Call the Police

You should also call the police from the site of the accident and report the happenings. Once they arrive, make a note of the officer’s name, badge number, and contact details. 

Ensure that you get a copy of the accident report from them. If the crash is minor and police did not arrive at the scene, you can request a copy of the report from either the law enforcement office or your insurance adjuster. 

4) Gather Crucial Pieces of Information

Put your cell phone camera to good use and take pictures of the collision and the vehicles involved as evidence. You should also try and collect some essential information, such as the names, addresses, contact details, and driver’s license numbers of everyone involved in the crash. 

If the driver’s name differs from that mentioned in the registration/insurance documents, confirm their relationship with the vehicle’s actual owner. 

You should also collect all vehicle information, such as the make and model, color, year of manufacture, license plate number, and vehicle identification number. Other details you should get are the insurance policy number and contact number. Also, take down the names and contact information of witnesses to the accident.

While you collect all this information, make sure you don’t end up divulging your personal information unnecessarily to any other party. This includes your social security number, insurance coverage limit, or other personal information.

5) Contact the Insurance Company

Don’t forget to call your insurance agency to report the accident. As experienced car accident lawyers, we recommend that you report the accident and make a claim before the other party does so, even if the accident seemed minor. 

Also, it is vital to call the insurance company within a reasonable amount of time after the accident. This will not only help you protect your interests, but may also be mentioned in your agreement. Failure to do so may greatly affect the compensation amount you’re awarded. 

Provide the insurance company with the details of the car crash, so they can start building your claim. An insurance adjuster may visit the accident site to evaluate it thoroughly. 

If you notice some injuries manifesting later on, report them to your insurer as well. Remember: if you don’t report the accident to your insurance company, you may be entirely denied any coverage. 

6) Refrain from Settling Quickly

If the accident resulted due to the recklessness of the other driver, their insurance company may call you and offer compensation. They might ask you to accept a sum of money in return for signing a document that will prevent you from filing any future claims against their client. 

Often, victims feel tempted to sign the dotted line, but it is important that you avoid giving into the first offer – especially without legal guidance.

Be patient and wait until your medical practitioner evaluates your condition, and give your body the time to ensure that no additional injuries manifest. To ensure that the compensation you receive is fair, refrain from signing any release document until you have all the necessary information from your doctors.   

Once you sign this document, you will lose the right to seek compensation from the other party or the insurance company. Sign it only if you’re absolutely certain that the settlement offered is fair. 

Immediately after you report your accident to the insurance agency, you should call a qualified car accident personal injury attorney. Even if you think the accident was minor, complications may crop up later on. You need to feel confident that you’re sufficiently armored in your legal battle.

Furthermore, insurance companies usually try to pay the least possible compensation as they don’t have your best interest in mind. With a seasoned car accident lawyer in your corner, however, you will be able to deal with insurance companies and their tricks effectively. They will work diligently to uphold your rights and interests. 

If possilbe, try to hire a car accident attorney with:

  • Considerable experience in successfully handling car accident cases
  • A reputation for fighting aggressively for their clients
  • A demeanor you can trust
  • A solid list of credentials

Before zeroing in on a Utah accidental injury attorney, ask them the following questions to gauge their capability better:

  • What are the strengths and weaknesses of my case?
  • How likely is it that I’ll receive a favorable judgement or fair settlement?
  • How much compensation should I expect to receive?
  • Do you think going to trial will get better results than settling?
  • Will mediation or arbitration work in my case?
  • For how long will my case go on?

It is a good idea to have a capable Utah car accident lawyer’s contact details handy, even if you aren’t going to seek compensation. You never know what the other party is planning – they may try to file a claim against you to get compensation or drag you to court for your involvement in the case. 

Hiring a car accident lawyer early on will enable them to be prepared by building a strong case for you, should the need arise. 

In Conclusion

A car accident can be scary and frustrating to deal with. However, for those who’ve been in one, this is the time to use your presence of mind and take certain necessary steps at the site of the accident as well as later on. 

From staying put at the accident scene and checking if everyone involved is okay to talking to witnesses and calling your trusted Utah car accident attorney, every step you take can fortify your case. 

Question? Book a free 15 minute consultation with Henriksen Law now.