There Are Steps to Take If You’ve Been In a Car Accident
Raise your hand if this has ever been you. It’s Friday at 5 pm – you’ve had a long week at work that is finally over. You just want to get home and enjoy your weekend. Your mind drifts to what take out you’re having tonight. You then remember that you need to go pick up a bottle of wine to enjoy while you relax this weekend.
But suddenly you go through something that no one ever wants to experience. Another driver has been in too much of a hurry and has run a red light. Crash. Your car is hit in some form or another.
This experience is all too common. Around 120,000 car crashes happen every year in Colorado of all different degrees, with around 14,000 of these causing personal injuries. If you’re lucky, there is only a cosmetic damage to the car. But for those less fortunate this car accident could change your life forever.
But regardless of the circumstances, adrenaline usually kicks in as soon as it happens and you run out of the car to handle the situation head-on. This is not the way to handle a car accident.
To help you be prepared in case you are unfortunate enough to have this happen to you, here are 8 tips (well… 8 and a half) to help you if you have been in a car accident in Colorado Springs.
Note: this advice is good to know if you haven’t ever been in a car crash – it can prepare you for the future. But the advice here can help if you have recently had an accident and need to know what to do next.
Step 1: Do a body check
Like I said before, the first thing that most people do when they are in a crash is jump straight out of the car, to check the damage and address the other party. This is about 3 steps too early.
Car accidents can cause some serious injury, from broken bones to cuts and scrapes, to internal bleeding. This is why the first thing that you need to do is a body check, to make sure that you aren’t hurt. The adrenaline running through your body could help with the pain, but that doesn’t mean that it isn’t there. It’s recommended to pat yourself down to see if there is anything hurting. This is a physical body check to make sure that you are okay.
Check to make sure that you are okay, and then immediately check the others in your car. Always fit your oxygen mask first, right?
Make sure that everyone in your car is okay by asking them to do a physical pat-down too, including your children.
Step 2: Call 911
Next, you need to call 911 and ask for the police to come and file an incident report. This information will be very useful when making an insurance claim. Having the police on the scene can also prevent any confrontation with the other driver. Lastly, if the other party happens to be driving under the influence, then this is a criminal offense. The authorities will need to deal with this.
If anyone is hurt, request an ambulance when you call 911. It will take time for them to get there, so starting with this is the best thing to do. You can begin to deal with everything else while you wait for the paramedics to get there.
Explain to the 911 operator that there has been a car accident and that someone in your car is hurt. Make sure to tell them if the person that’s hurt is an adult or child, and give as much detail about the injury as possible.
Step 3: Be calm and safe
Once you have checked that everyone is safe and called 911, get out of the car and make sure that the other party are okay. I often find that starting the conversation with “don’t worry, I’ve called 911 and they’re on their way” will prevent any risk of confrontation. Keeping a level head here is going to keep you safe and away from the risk of a physical confrontation. People are often irrational after car crashes and this can cause some aggression. This statement will keep you safe from this 9/10 times.
If you can then the next thing to do is take all parties out of your cars, off the road, and away from oncoming traffic. Depending on the type of road that you are on, this is very important (there may be fast, oncoming traffic around you). Remember, safety first!
Step 4: Take photographs of everything
When I say everything, I mean everything. Getting as much photographic evidence as possible is invaluable in personal injury claims. Insurance companies will do everything that they can to reduce, or reject your claim. Being able to answer any questions with photographic evidence is so helpful.
A small list of things to take photos of are:
- Your own car. All the damage, inside and out. Did the airbags pop? Did glass smash? Get photos of the entire car, including your tires and seats.
- Note – tires are important because you may be asked about the tread and how worn they were before the crash.
- The other party’s car. This can often go a long way to prove the speed that they were driving and the severity of the situation. If your car is barely damaged, but theirs is totally destroyed, then proving your injuries is much easier.
- The road. Is the road wet or icy? Are there skid marks? Are parts of your car broken off and on the road?
- The environment around you. This will prove the weather.
- Your injuries, and the injuries of the people in your car.
- Your personal property in your car. Has your phone smashed? A laptop, tablet? Heck, even take photos of your children’s toys.
Be as detail-oriented as possible. You may find that your car has started to leak oil since the crash – get photographs of this. It is much better to have too many photos than not enough.
Step 5: Take note of everything
This is like the above but in more of a detailed way. Again, a list of the things to note down would be:
- A diagram of the scene.Draw what it all looks like, how did the car crash happen?
- What did the other party say? Did they ever say “sorry”, or admit that it was their fault? Write down their exact words
- How is the other party behaving? Take a note of this too
- Traffic conditions. Was there a lot of traffic? Was it fast moving?
- What was the speed limit, and approximately what speed were both parties doing?
- What was the weather like?
- Details of the cars. What was the make, model, color, and license plate of both cars
- What’s the condition of both cars?
- Passengers. How many people were in both cars? How old were they?
The most important thing here is detail and honesty. There is no point lying because it will probably go against you.
Having a detailed log of everything that happened will help in case you’re questioned about it all in 6 months. This log will help you keep your story straight and not move an inch away from the facts. Should the incident go to court, these facts are very important.
Step 6: Exchange information with the other party (AND witnesses!)
This is something that a lot of people rush straight into. But ensuring that everyone is safe and everything’s documented is the most important thing to do.
The information that you need from the other party is their license plate, driver’s license information, and who their insurer is. If they know their insurance policy number, that would be great too.
Were there any witnesses to the car accident? Take their name and phone number too.
Lastly, ask the police for a reference number for the report that they are filing.
Keep this information stored with the photos and notes that you have been taking. Again, make sure that you have too much information. Your attorney can help you to decide what you do and do not need.
Step 7: Call a personal injury attorney
Whether you feel that you need an attorney or not, it is a good idea to call one for a consultation. The next few months can be quite difficult; trying to manage your normal life while making a claim that is appropriate for your injuries and the damage to your vehicle.
Not only that, but on average in Colorado, personal injury claims are around 40% higher when you use an experienced personal injury litigator to fight for you. And when you are dealing with a long term injury and a lot of property damage, this extra 40% could be a world of difference for you.
When looking for a personal injury lawyer, you should aim to find someone available to help you when fits best for you. Someone who is happy to speak with you outside of the 9-5 workday, and can provide you with a caring and personable service.
If you are looking for an attorney who will provide a world-class service and meet you where you are, then please call (888) 590-5510 or get in touch today through my contact page. I will represent your best interests and explain exactly what is happening each step of the way. Claim with clarity today.
Step 8: Keep a record of your physical health over the next few weeks.
Often aches and pains can take a little while to set in. These can still be attributed to the crash and so you may be entitled to compensation. Neck and back pain can develop over time, so make sure that you keep a diary.
Note down how you are feeling each day and rank the pain on a scale of 1-10. Again, be 100% honest with this. Exaggerating the truth is not going to help in the long run.
It could also help to take regular photos of bumps and bruises. Keep this as a journal and mention it to your personal injury attorney. This can be used as extra evidence in your claim.
Bonus tip: Get a dashcam
You can buy dash cameras for a relatively cheap price these days, but they are unbelievably helpful in personal injury claims. Recording the events leading up to the crash can help to prove whether someone has run a red light, was distracted while driving, etc. They are hugely helpful pieces of equipment.
If you have been in a car accident that wasn’t your fault and you have been injured, then you are entitled to compensation to pay for your vehicle repairs, loss of earnings, and medical bills. If you are unfortunate enough to have permanent injuries, then you need to be compensated for these too. Having video evidence will be a huge help in these claims.
What to do next if you have been in a car accident in Colorado Springs?
If you are reading this because you have recently been in a car accident, then call me today on (888) 590-5510 to discuss your claim. I can help you understand your rights and explain what you can and cannot claim for.
Maximizing your claim is one of the most important parts of the months to come. You need a lawyer who will fight like a bulldog to get you what you deserve. So speak to me today for advice around your claim. I have experience litigating for and against insurance companies and will use this knowledge to represent your best interest and achieve the compensation that you deserve.