What to do (and what to avoid doing) in the days, weeks, and months after a car crash in Colorado
No matter how safe you drive your vehicle, the risk of car wrecks are always present. Statistics suggest that the average individual in the United States will be involved in at least one car wreck in the course of their lifetime. Even though car crashes are surprisingly common among even the safest and skilled drivers, a large number of drivers are not sure of how to proceed after a car crash occurs.
Making mistakes after a Colorado car crash occurs can create numerous complications including legal difficulties and financial hardships.
Steps To Take Immediately After A Car Crash
Even individuals who are involved in the seemingly most minor of car wrecks should immediately follow some basic pieces of advice:
- Avoid losing control of emotions. It can be tempting to get angry if a driver feels that another individual is responsible for a car wreck. Rather than release this pent-up anger, drivers should stay calm and focus on protecting the driver’s legal interests.
- Avoid making agreements to not call authorities. Even in the event that a car wreck appears to be relatively relatively minor, drivers should avoid making agreements to not contact law enforcement. If a car crash occurs, emergency services should be contacted immediately. Agreements to not contact emergency services is not a good idea because the lack of an accident report can later be used by insurance companies to determine how an accident occurred. Individuals should provide law enforcement with a complete narrative of exactly how the accident occurred.
- Collect important documents. If individuals plan on retaining the services of a personal injury attorney, it is a wise idea to gather copies of several documents including the accident report, insurance policy details, photos of property damage and resulting injuries, and property damage estimates. It is often much easier to collect these documents as an individual’s case proceeds rather than attempting to track down these documents after the fact.
- Contact a skilled attorney. After a car crash occurs, it is important for individuals to immediately retain the services of a skilled and experienced car crash attorney. A knowledgeable car crash attorney will be able to help determine whether another party should be held responsible for any resulting injuries, fatalities, or property damage.
- Contacting your insurance company. You have a duty to report the crash to your own insurance company. It is best to do this only after speaking with your attorney.
- Do not leave the scene of the crash. Individuals who leave the scene of an auto crash are at risk of being charged with leaving the scene of accident. It also deprives you of the opportunity to tell the police officer your side of the story. Exchange information with the other driver. Be sure to exchange contact details, driver’s license information, and insurance information with any other parties who are involved in the crash. Individuals should also attempt to record information from any witnesses who might have seen the crash occur.
- Exit a vehicle safely. While exiting a vehicle after an accident occurs, individuals should make sure that it is safe to exit the vehicle. Individuals should also turn on emergency flashers when exiting a vehicle. If an individual is safely able to move a vehicle, individuals should move the vehicle to the shoulder of the road.
- Pay attention to injuries even if the injuries are not immediately apparent. Car crashes are often traumatic in nature and drivers are often so shocked by the event that the drivers forget to stop to evaluate resulting injuries. Even if injuries are not readily apparent or individuals believe that the injuries are only light in nature, it is still a wise idea to seek medical attention.
- Receive medical attention if anyone feels any injury from a car crash. Having a report of an auto crash is a better idea than not having any resultant injuries documented. If no one requires medical attention, individuals should still call the non-emergency number for a local law enforcement agency to report the accident.
- Take photographs of the scene. If an individual feels well enough to do so and it is safe to do so, individuals should take pictures of the crash scene and anything that may be important concerning the crash.
Steps That Individuals Should Take in the Weeks And Months Following A Car Crash
There are some essential pieces of advice that individuals should remember to follow in the weeks and months after a car accident. This advice includes the following key steps:
- Avoid settling in court without the assistance of an attorney. Individuals should avoid settling with anyone before at least consulting with a qualified attorney. If a legal proceeding is complicated in any way, individuals will likely benefit enormously from retaining the services of a skilled car crash attorney.
- Be mindful of statute of limitations. Every state has statute of limitations that limit the amount of time that a car crash victim has to file a lawsuit. Individuals should make sure that their case is initiated within the applicable statute of limitations because once the statute of limitations “runs out” a legal claim is no longer valid.
When to make an insurance claim. After a car wreck, a driver will likely receive a call from the other driver’s insurance company. Drivers should not trust these other insurance companies even if the company is extremely persuasive. Individuals should avoid making any statements to an insurance company or accepting any settlement for any injury until that individual has consulted with an experienced car crash attorney.