So, you’ve been in a car accident. Now what? What you do from this moment on could affect whether or not you get the settlement you deserve and whether you will be fully compensated for your injuries. Below are Your Denver Personal Injury Attorney’s 7 Golden Rules of Car Accidents that you should always follow if you’ve been the victim of a car accident.
No matter how you think you feel and how honest the person that hit you may seem, always call 911. Don’t feel bad. After all, you didn’t cause the car accident.
Even if the person that hit you admits fault, people get weird when money gets involved and what they’re telling you now could dramatically change (likely for the worse) once that person is talking to his insurance company, assuming that they have insurance in the first place.
After calling 911 and making sure that everyone is okay, document the accident. This means taking down the driver’s license information of the person that hit you. This means writing down the name of that person’s insurance company including their policy number.
Get every single bit of information that the at-fault driver has: his address, his phone number(s), his e-mail address, his car registration, his employer, etc. Anything that you can think of.
Also, if there are any witnesses at the scene, your Denver personal injury lawyer is obviously going to want to talk to them. Therefore, get everyone’s contact information including his/her address, phone, and e-mail.
As a Denver personal injury attorney, one of my biggest frustrations are witnesses that move or change their telephone numbers. Therefore, get their e-mail if they have one. People don’t often change their e-mails.
Lastly, Your Denver Personal Injury Attorney recommends taking a picture of the at-fault driver’s license, his registration, and his insurance card and e-mailing those pictures to yourself so you don’t lose them.
Car accidents vary in degree of injury and, oftentimes, those injuries are not immediately apparent, e.g. internal bleeding, soft tissue damage, etc. Therefore, you need to conservatively assess your health. If you don’t feel okay to move, don’t move. Wait for medical professionals to arrive on scene to better assess your injuries and give you the “all-clear.”
Once you’ve been given the all-clear, take pictures of the accident scene. Take pictures of your car and the other person’s car from all angles. Immediately e-mail them to yourself so that you don’t lose them later.
People that cause car accidents don’t always like to admit they were at fault. Therefore, stand your ground and don’t be goaded into admitting liability to the other driver or answering his 20 questions. Be polite, but be firm. Insist on getting his documents, but do not engage in any conversation about the facts of the accident. The police will ask the questions.
Next, assuming that the police arrive, you have two choices: (1) tell your side of what happened, assuming that the other driver was 100% at fault; or (2) tell the officer you’d rather not say anything until you speak with a lawyer.
If possible, it’s preferable that you tell your version of events to the police at the scene so long as you’re not going to (1) incriminate yourself criminally, or (2) devalue what would otherwise be a legitimate claim by making a statement that might be misinterpreted against you down the road.
Therefore, be honest, be direct, and only answer those questions you know the answers to. Be sure to get the police officer’s business card and a case report number. Your Denver personal injury lawyer will want to know who you spoke with.
If medical staff is on scene, also be direct, honest, and only answer those questions you know the answer to. Get their business cards if they have them.
Of all the car accident tips here, this might be the most important.
Depending on the extent of your injuries, medical staff may determine that transporting you to the hospital is not absolutely necessary. You may have a choice as to whether or not you want to seek medical attention.
One of the key factors in your decision to seek care is going to be whether or not you have health insurance.
If the person who hit you has insurance, and there is no dispute as to who was at fault, that person’s insurance company is almost always going to cover reasonable medical costs. Therefore, if you need to go to the hospital or doctor, go.
Even if the person who hit you does not have insurance, Colorado requires that every auto insurance policy have at least $5000.00 in medical payments coverage.
Often called “med-pay” for short, medical payments coverage is a type of insurance which provides at least $5,000 coverage for the insured driver and passengers to pay for injuries sustained in a car accident, regardless of who is at fault. You can affirmatively opt out of this coverage, but it’s not advisable to do so and you likely haven’t. To verify if you have medpay, simply call your insurance company.
Even if you find yourself injured in a car accident and without any insurance (including medpay), you’re still going to want to seek medical attention.
As a Denver car accident attorney, I know that seeking immediate medical attention from a qualified provider with good credentials is essential to your claim. The longer you wait, the less value your claim has.
Most personal injury attorneys work with medical providers that they have established a relationship with and have worked with in the past. Therefore, if you’re unsure who you should see and you have the physical ability to consult with a Denver personal injury attorney first, that attorney will usually have a network of medical professionals who he has worked with in the past and those doctors or chiropractors will usually work on a lien basis which means that they aren’t hounding you for payment until your case has settled.
Lastly, your insurance company and the at-fault party’s insurance company is going to try and talk to you before you “lawyer up.”
Politely tell the insurance agent that you are looking for a personal injury lawyer and that, at this time, you do not feel comfortable giving a statement. If that person persists, get his or her name and phone number and tell him that you will be happy to call him once you have consulted with a personal injury attorney. If they continue to bother you, simply tell them, “Listen, I’ve read Denver personal injury attorney Jeffry Dougan’s car accident tips. I’m not talking to anyone until I see my lawyer” and then hang up.
Every car accident is different. But the insurance game is always the same: try and low-ball the person who’s hurt and sweet-talk her out of getting a lawyer. Don’t let that happen to you. Try your best to follow these car accident tips and call Your Denver Personal Injury Attorney Jeffry Dougan today at 303-704-1222 and set up your FREE initial consultation. You won’t regret it.