9 steps to take after a car accident
A car accident can dramatically change your life in an instant. Nobody plans on getting in one, but sooner or later most of us do. Accidents are unpredictable and happen quickly. They can be traumatic, leaving many victims in shock. And accident scenes are often chaotic, hectic, and stressful. Given these facts, people often fail to respond properly when involved in a car accident.
To help better prepare and protect you, the team at Gosdis Law has prepared the following important steps to take after a car accident in Utah:
- Check on Everyone in Your Vehicle. First things first. Check on everyone in your car to determine if anyone has been injured. If anyone is injured, call 911 immediately to request an ambulance.
- Call the Police. Even if no one in your vehicle appears to be injured, and even if you believe the damages to be minor, you should still call the police so they can prepare a report. Some police agencies will not prepare a report if there are no injuries, so make sure to communicate your injuries to the responding officer, even if you think they are relatively minor (i.e., headache, shock, anxiety).
- Be Careful What You Say. In the moments following an accident, be very careful what you say. Everything you say will be used against you by the insurance company down the road. As a result, watch what you say to witnesses, other drivers, the police, and emergency responders. Do not apologize or admit anything or casually claim you are “fine.” Often, accident victims do not know if they have been injured until they are examined by a physician. And other injuries like muscle soreness and pain to not immediately manifest following an accident. As a result, it is generally safer (and more accurate) to say that you are not aware of any major injuries, but that you are suffering from headache, muscle soreness, stress, shock or anxiety—as the case may be—and that you need to be checked out by a physician. Otherwise, the police report will simply claim “no injuries,” which more often than not is inaccurate.
- Get Contact Information from Witnesses. If there are witnesses, talk with them. Ask them for their names, addresses, and phone numbers. Their testimony may be critical to your case. Do not assume the police will talk with the witnesses. They often leave the scene before police arrive or before police are able to speak with them.
- Exchange Information with Other Drivers. You need to get the names, addresses, phone numbers, driver’s license numbers, and insurance information for each party involved in the accident. In addition, you need to get the make, model, year, color, and license plate number of all vehicles. The easiest and most reliable way to get this information is usually to take pictures with your cell phone.
- Take Pictures. After exchanging information with the other drivers, you need to take pictures. Lots of them. Get pictures of the accident scene, the vehicles, damage, road conditions, debris, marks on the road, and traffic signs and signals. Do not assume that the police will take the pictures you may need for your claim.
- Stay Off Social Media. After an accident, many people are eager to post to social media, letting people know they were in an accident and that they are “ok.” Stay off social media. As outlined above, in the moments following an accident, you do not know if you are “ok” and the insurance company may later use your social media posts against you to deny your claim.
- Go to a Doctor. After an accident, you need to be seen by a physician as soon as possible, including any of the following: your personal physician; Instacare; or an emergency room physician. Report what happened, along with your associated symptoms. Ask them to exam you for any associated injuries.
- Contact a Lawyer. After an accident, it is important to get in touch with an attorney experienced in handling car accident claims as soon as possible. You should consult with your attorney before making any statements to the other driver’s insurance company. Insurance companies know you are in a vulnerable position and often seek to take advantage of that fact. They may attempt to interview you to secure admissions helpful to their case or they may persuade you accept a quick, lowball settlement offer before you are able to retain an attorney. An experienced Utah personal injury attorney will protect you against these insurance company tactics, among many others, and ensure that you receive the compensation you deserve.
we will fight to recover the maximum amount of money for your accident
If you have sustained injuries in a car accident in Salt Lake City or any other Utah location, you need to retain a Utah car accident lawyer. You are entitled to compensation. Gosdis Law will help you recover it, including compensation for your past medical bills; future medical bills; past pain and suffering; future pain and suffering; past lost wages; future lost wages; and property damage. Call us today at (385) 474-6126; text message at (801) 200-1578; or e-mail email@example.com to schedule a free consultation with an experienced Utah car accident lawyer.