The personal injury attorneys at Hadfield Stieben & Doutt understand the storm of emotions and stress that come along with auto accidents. We want to help make an overwhelming experience a bit more manageable. No one should be left without resources in such a situation. HSD Law in Fort Collins is here to help.
As car accident lawyers, we have experience with the full range of situations. We’ve seen it all. We thought it would be a good idea to put together some resources that can help you or your loved ones if you ever find yourself in an auto accident. For today’s blog, we will take a look at some of the essential things to do after an auto accident. Unsurprisingly, after an accident, emotions will be running high — and this often leads to people doing things (or failing to do things) they later regret. It is our hope that some of these resources will help prepare you in such situations.
You can visit our Auto Accident page to learn more about what to do if you’re in an accident, as well as reasons why it’s important to hire a car accident lawyer. It can be tempting to represent yourself, but this can end up being far more stressful and costly in the long-run. So, let’s take a look at some of the essential things to do after an auto accident.
First things first: you must take a handful of essential steps to ensure that you receive the appropriate treatment for your injuries and to preserve your personal injury claim. We laid out some of these essential steps in our Auto Accident page. Before going into some additional detail, be sure to review the essential steps we already discussed, including:
- Seeking medical treatment
- Documenting the facts
- Gathering potential evidence
- Avoiding speaking with other people’s insurance companies
Please remember that the most important step after an auto accident is to ensure your own personal safety and the safety of those around you. Please do seek medical treatment immediately if you feel as though it is needed.
You can think of the above suggestions as umbrella steps, under which there are many smaller steps that you should take to be as safe and thorough as possible. Visit our Auto Accident page to get more information on each of these essential steps.
Checking for Injuries
Adrenaline will be running high after an accident. Try not to do anything that might compound an injury. Take a breath and assess any potential physical injuries you may be suffering from. If you’re seriously injured, try not to move, and wait for emergency personnel. If you are able to move, you can then help others assess their injuries. If anyone is seriously injured, you will want to call 9-1-1 immediately.
Protect the Scene
Safety is, of course, paramount. If you are able to do so, an important move to ensure the safety of everyone involved is to protect the scene. The first steps you will want to take (so long as you are able) include:
- Moving vehicles from traffic
- Turning off vehicles
- Turning on hazard lights
Protecting the scene involves, at a minimum, keeping your hazard lights flashing. Not everyone keeps these in their vehicle, but it can help with the safety of the scene if you are able to set up flares or cones around the accident. If it’s nighttime, flashlights will be important to help keep you safe.
Call the Police
As already mentioned, you will want to call emergency services if there are any serious injuries. Even if there are no serious injuries, it is still important to contact authorities (after you’ve moved yourself to safety). Even if the accident is relatively minor, it is still important for legal purposes that you contact local authorities.
Document, Document, Document
We’ve established that you will want to document the facts and gather potential evidence. As car accident lawyers, we want to stress the importance of gathering the right kind of evidence that will help ensure that you will get the claim you deserve. We mentioned before that you will want to follow up and obtain an accident report, photographs, and statements from others who observed the accident.
It is also important for you to record your own experiences. You will want to observe and record what happened, as well as a log of any injuries you may have suffered. Some information you want to obtain from the other drivers include:
- Name and contact information
- Insurance company and policy number
- Make, model, and color of vehicle
- Driver’s license and license plate number
When relaying this information to others — especially in the police report — it’s important not to exaggerate, fabricate, or improvise. If you are unsure of something that happened, don’t just guess. This also holds true if you are unsure of your injuries. Don’t be afraid to say “I’m not sure.”
Don’t Discuss Fault
As mentioned above, it’s important that you don’t divulge any information to (or even speak with) the other people’s insurance company. Similarly, you should avoid any discussion of who’s at fault. Even if you are quite confident as to whose fault it is, there are legal ramifications for discussions of fault. It is better to stick to objective observations before talking about blame.
Discussions of fault and blame can be where the car accident lawyers come in. Speaking of which…
Protect Your Rights
One of the most important steps you can take after an auto accident is to reach out to your attorney. As trusted car accident lawyers serving Fort Collins and the Northern Colorado area, we are prepared to protect your rights after an accident. Insurance companies will often try to take reports and make claims immediately after an accident. To ensure that you get what you deserve (and to prevent you from any financial burdens you don’t deserve), be sure to contact HSD Law. We are here to help make the stress of an auto accident a bit more manageable.