Following an accident, there are some important things you must do.
- Document general information from the accident.
- Document exact details about the accident.
- Take notes of injuries and visit a doctor.
- Detail interactions with emergency responders.
- Call the insurance company.
- Don’t sign anything.
- Consider legal action.
According to our Colorado car accident lawyers at McDivitt Law Firm, these tasks will greatly increase your chances of receiving maximum damages. If you are physically and mentally able to drive post-accident, you may do so; getting back in the driver’s seat has no bearing on your auto accident claim.
1. Document general information from the accident.
Write down the exact time and date of the accident. The police who came to the scene should have this information, but it’s important to always have secondary documentation in case a clerical error is made.
Collect the names, addresses, and phone numbers of the other parties involved, anyone you spoke to at the scene or any witnesses of the accident. Organize these contacts so you can share them with your Colorado car accident lawyer. Using your camera or cell phone, take photographs of the scene and damage to all vehicles involved.
If you didn’t collect the contact information of anyone at the scene, you can find this information in the traffic accident report available at your local police station. Otherwise, the Colorado car accident lawyers at McDivitt Law Firm will help you obtain this report.
2. Document exact details about the accident.
Write down everything you remember from the scene of the crash while it’s still fresh in your mind — the weather, traffic, pedestrians and road conditions, etc. Describe the direction of traffic, your speed (and the relative speed of other car(s) involved) and any distractions that may have taken place — such as animals on the side of the road. If you took pictures at the scene of the accident of debris and skid marks, that’s even better!
3. Take notes of injuries and visit a doctor.
Injuries can sometimes be masked by adrenaline immediately following an accident. However, as the hours pass post-accident, take note of any physical pain you (or others involved in the crash) might be feeling. If you think there is any chance you sustained an injury, visit a doctor within 24 hours for both your own safety and for liability. If you have bruises or other visual injuries, take photos as they progress.
Even if you don’t think you’re hurt, sometimes injuries take time to present themselves. We recommend that all of our clients visit a doctor on the same day of the accident. If you can’t see a doctor that day, see one no later than the following day, regardless of the severity. Be sure to take notes about how you feel after the accident, what the doctor says, and how you are recovering. Also, let the doctor know of any pain you feel. Do not ‘hide’ these symptoms from your doctor, no matter how slight.
The trauma of a car accident does not only include only physical injuries. If strong feelings continue with you after an auto accident, you may be suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. Some signs of PTSD include:
- An ongoing feeling of uneasiness
- Problems driving or riding in vehicles
- Irritability, or excessive worry or anger
- Nightmares or trouble sleeping
- A feeling that you’re not connected to others
- Ongoing memories of the accident that you can’t stop or control
The time period after an auto accident can be very difficult. Please remember that your health and recovery should remain your top focus.
4. Detail interactions with emergency responders.
If you haven’t already filed a police report, make sure to do so immediately. This is important no matter how minor the damage to your car or someone else’s. Be sure the report is detailed, and save a copy for your files. If emergency responders came to the scene, document the interactions you had with the police and other emergency personnel.
5. Call the insurance company.
If you took photos at the scene of the accident, share them with your insurance company. Give them all the documentation you compiled — description of accident details, pictures, etc. Also, share the insurance information of the other party. If the other driver refused to give insurance information, here’s what to do.
6. Don’t sign anything.
If your insurance company or the insurance company of the other party contacts you, do not sign anything without talking to our Colorado car accident attorneys first. Signing paperwork from an insurance company may mean you are signing away your rights to compensation.
7. Consider legal action.
You might want to consider calling a lawyer following your auto accident. Here’s how to determine if a personal injury attorney can help your situation. In preparation for meeting with an attorney, download our Auto Accident Toolkit, another resource we compiled to help make this stressful time more manageable for you.