What to Do After an Auto Accident
After a car accident happens, knowing what to do next can be crucial to protecting your rights and wellbeing. At Bell & Pollock, P.C., we understand how devastating auto accidents can be – not only physically but also psychologically and financially. That is just one of the reasons why our Denver car accident lawyers are dedicated to being champions of the people, helping them obtain the justice and recoveries they deserve.
If You Have Been Involved in a Car Accident…
- Try to remain calm and get to a safe place ASAP – Traffic accidents can be scary and upsetting. Following a collision, however, it’s important to try to stay calm so you can think clearly, take care of yourself and carry out as many of the following steps as possible.And the first step to take after the crash (if you’re conscious and able to) is to move out of the way of traffic as soon as possible. If your vehicle is still operational and is blocking traffic (and moving it won’t cause further damage), then it’s also advisable to move it out of the way of oncoming traffic (to limit the risk of another crash).
- Call the police to report the crash – Once you are out of harm’s way, call the police immediately to report the crash. While calling 911 will be necessary for more serious auto wrecks (like those that involve visible injuries), calling a non-emergency police number is typically preferable for milder crashes (like non-injury fender benders). When it comes to reporting a car accident to police, it’s important to understand that:
- Police will develop an official report for the crash, detailing specifics like where/when the accident occurred and who’s likely at fault for the crash.
- Failing to report a car accident not only violates Colorado State law,1 but it can also cause problems later when it’s time to file a car accident claim (as insurers may use failures to report a crash as grounds to reduce or even deny a car crash claim).
- Seek medical attention – Get checked out by an emergency responder, or see a doctor as soon as possible after the accident (if EMTs aren’t called to the scene). Some of the main reasons why seeking medical attention ASAP after a car accident is so important include that it can:
- Ensure your injuries are diagnosed and treated in a timely manner – You may not feel hurt after a crash happens because of shock (or because the symptoms of the injuries may take some time to develop). By seeing a medical professional ASAP, however, your injuries can be identified and treated before they may progress to a worse state.
- Document the extent of the physical damage you suffered in the crash – Just as police will write up an official report for the accident, a doctor will develop more formal records regarding the severity and nature of your injuries. These medical records can be integral later to proving the damage you suffered and, consequently, the compensation to which you may be entitled for your injuries (and other losses).
- Exchange information with other involved parties – As you wait at the scene of an accident for police to arrive and wrap up their investigation, take this time to get some important information from the other parties that were involved in the crash. These parties can include other motorists and/or witnesses, and the info to gather from them includes the following:
- Basic personal information – This should include the names and contact information for the other involved parties.
- Motorist-related information – For other involved motorists, this info should include the driver’s license info (i.e., driver’s license number and state where the license was issued); the vehicle-related info (i.e., the make/model/year of the vehicle, as well as the license plate number); and the insurance-related info (i.e., the provider and policy number).
- Other information – For witnesses, you may want to briefly jot down their accounts (to note whether the witness has an account that supports your version of the events or has other evidence to offer regarding liability, for instance).
- Take pictures of the damage – This is another step that can be taken while you wait for police at the accident scene. When snapping photos of the crash damage, try to capture as many pictures as possible, including (but not necessarily limited to) pictures of the vehicle damage, any visible injuries, and any wreckage to surrounding features (like signage, guardrails, etc.). Here are some additional helpful tips related to accident scene photos:
- If weather and/or road conditions may have been a contributing factor, try to capture pictures of these elements (to the extent possible).
- Create a simple backup of the picture files by emailing them to yourself (so these photos are easily accessible at any point in the future when you need them). This backup can be essential if anything happens to the originals (or the device they were taken on) later.
- Record your version of the incident – After you’ve have left the accident scene and your health is no longer in danger, take some time to write down a detailed account of what occurred before, during and after the auto crash. This can be important to capturing all of the essential details, which may be forgotten (or misremembered) as time passes.
- Report the crash to the insurance company – This is another critical step to take within a day or so of a car accident because auto insurance policies can have very strict provisions regarding how soon after a wreck motorists have to report that crash to them. When making this initial report to an insurer, be sure to:
- Only report the facts of the crash.
- Avoid being lured into accepting blame for the accident or into giving an official (i.e., recorded) statement about the crash.
- Remember that insurance companies are not looking out for you or your rights after the crash. Instead, they are usually focused on safeguarding their own interests, which means limiting the payouts they have to make following a car accident.
- Meet with a car accident lawyer – An attorney won’t just see you as another accident statistic (like police or insurers may). Instead, an experienced auto accident lawyer will be ready to help you protect your rights and interests as you move forward with your recovery.
Get Effective Help Recovering from an Auto Crash with an Experienced Denver Car Accident Attorney at Bell & Pollock, P.C.
If you have been injured in an auto wreck or any type of traffic crash, you can turn to a Denver car accident attorney at Bell & Pollock, P.C. for experienced help advocating your rights and pursuing justice.
For well over 30 years, our lawyers have been champions of the people, providing victims of negligence with exceptional representation – and personalized legal services – to help them succeed in their recovery. Known for our skills, experience and record of success, our attorneys are ready to help and serve you so you can:
- Obtain the full amount of compensation to which you are entitled
- Concentrate on healing and restoring your life.
Call us at (303) 795-5900 or email our firm using the contact form on this page to schedule a free initial consultation with one of our lawyers and find out more about how we can help you. During this meeting, you will receive clear, honest legal advice about your case, your rights and your best options for moving forward.
From our offices conveniently located in Denver, our lawyers provide the highest quality legal services to injured people throughout the Denver metro area, Arapahoe County, Routt County and the state of Colorado.
1: According to (42-4-1606 CRS), as explained by the Colorado State Patrol (CSP) here – https://crash.state.co.us/