After an accident, you may or may not be injured, but you will likely feel confused and frightened. That is natural and experienced by everybody. One thing that can help alleviate your fear is understanding what steps to take after an accident and knowing what to do and what not to do after a car accident. Call your Louisville car accident attorney with any questions.
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You should always stop your vehicle after an accident, even if you are not at fault for the accident. Leaving the scene of an accident, even a minor one, is a crime.
The first thing is to decide what to do with your vehicle, assuming that it’s driveable or moveable. If you cannot move your car, either because it is totaled or because you are not in physical shape to move it, you can leave it where it is.
Make sure that you are in a safe place. If you need to leave your vehicle where it is and move somewhere safe, such as the side of the road, you should do so.
Remember that “secondary accidents” are all too common. When your car is stationary after an accident, another car crashes into your immobile vehicle. If you can, you may want to get yourself away from the car, even if you cannot move it.
The police will likely arrange for your car to get towed if it is immobile. If possible, get the contact information for the tow truck company so that you can locate your vehicle quickly when you are ready to get it back.
If your car does not get towed, you should not fix or repair anything on your vehicle by yourself. Your insurance company and the other driver’s insurance company may want to evaluate the damages to your car. You could lose insurance benefits if you fix your car on your own and deprive the insurance company of the ability to have their adjuster review the damage.
You should immediately call 911 for help. Another driver may often offer to “take care of this between ourselves” and avoid the police or insurance companies getting involved. However, that is rarely a good idea.
The police will arrive and often bring or call medical help if needed. If you need medical attention, immediately tell the 911 operator.
The police will ask you preliminary questions about how the accident happened. It would be best to tell the officer what you know or remember, but this isn’t a quiz. You likely don’t remember every detail of the accident. The accident was stressful, happened quickly, and you are likely full of adrenaline.
It would be best not to admit to fault or say that you did anything wrong because you may not know what is legally right or wrong. Just tell the officer what you observed, and avoid coming to legal conclusions about who was responsible for the accident.
After the accident, you will be able to get a copy of the report that the police file. However, your Louisville car accident lawyer will also do this for you.
If you can do so safely, take as many pictures and videos of the scene. Also, if it is safe, take photos of where the cars came to rest after the accident. But if you can’t do that, take pictures as soon as possible, after the vehicles move from the scene.
Take pictures of as much of the area as you can. The images should include the following for both vehicles: damage to the car, interior and exterior of vehicles, debris or markings on the road (such as skid marks caused by the other vehicle), and damage to surrounding areas (for example, if a car veered off the road and hit a tree).
Do not rely on others to document the scene for you. There is no guarantee that you will ever get access to pictures that the other driver is taking.
Another handy tip is to take a quick picture of the other driver’s license plate if they decide to flee the scene before the police arrive. Call your Louisville car accident attorney with any questions.
Even if the accident was not your fault, call your insurance policy. You likely have insurance coverage that you can obtain. Regardless of who is at fault, and even if you are at fault, your insurance company has to know what happened in the accident so they can begin preparing a defense for you.
Most insurance companies have 24-hour call centers that do primary intake on new reports, so you should call the insurance company no matter what time the accident happens.
Like the police will likely do, your insurance company will ask you questions about the accident. Once again, tell them what you know, but you are under no obligation to answer every single question they ask you in detail. Avoid volunteering this information. Later, when you get a Louisville car accident lawyer, your attorney will give your insurance company more information about the accident.
Remember that many insurance policies have strict deadlines to report a claim. If you have to wait a few days to report your Kentucky car accident because you are physically unable to do so, such as because you are in the hospital, that is fine. But, report the accident to the insurance company as quickly as possible.
Often, observers or other vehicles or people who saw the accident will rush to your aid after the accident. Many, however, may leave before the police get there. If you can and can do so, try to obtain contact information for these witnesses. If the other driver denies how the accident happened, these witnesses may be vital to providing your case later on.
You can also try to get the contact information from the other driver. However, do not engage with or interact with the other driver if they seem violent, angry, or volatile.
Right after the accident, you may feel that you don’t need medical help. Perhaps you aren’t in pain, or at least not in great pain.
The police, driver, or witnesses may ask how you feel. Avoid saying you are “fine” or “have no pain” because your body is adrenaline-filled after an accident. Your body can immediately mask the damage done to you in the accident. Do not rely on your pain level right after the accident.
Additionally, many medical conditions after an accident may not hurt at first. Sometimes, the pain won’t show up for hours or even a day. Many injuries take time to develop. Just because you don’t feel pain immediately doesn’t mean you aren’t injured.
Later on, the other side will often try to use the fact that you spontaneously said that you were “fine” against you. It is particularly true if you try to get compensation for injuries that develop later on.
Sometimes the other driver will say or do things there at the scene, such as an offer to work the matter out between yourselves. They may also try to blame you for the accident. Do not be argumentative or angry.
You should also not accept blame or blame the other driver–your Louisville car accident lawyer will take care of that part. However, if you feel it was the other driver’s fault, you should say that to the police and the insurance company.
A few days after the accident, the other driver’s insurance company may try to contact you. If you have a personal injury attorney, you don’t have to worry about this–your Louisville car accident lawyer will cover all communications.
However, before you have an attorney, either the other driver or their insurance company may propose to settle your case. They may not even say “settle” but may offer you some money. You should never accept money or sign any agreement without first talking to an injury attorney.
Many of these “quick settlements” will never fully compensate you for your damages and injuries. They are offers designed to make you “go away” before you can receive what you are entitled to for your damages.
These are just some of the immediate situations you may encounter after an accident. In the days and weeks after your accident, you may get overwhelmed with problems, pain, phone calls, or requests for documentation.
You don’t have to worry about that–your Louisville car accident lawyer will take care of it for you and guide you through the entire process to focus on getting better and getting yourself back to you.
Call our Louisville car accident attorneys at Claim Your Justice to schedule a free consultation at 847-434-3555 to help you with your car accident case.
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