After a car accident, no matter how small or large, there are a number of emotions you may be feeling. There is a moment of shock and panic, confusion, and even physical pain if there were serious injuries sustained. Klenofsky & Steward, LLC wants to help prepare you in the event that a car accident does happen. While we all wish we could prevent these types of occurrences, we cannot control the actions of others’ negligence, so it is best that you be on guard and keep yourself protected.
Below is a list of some advice and tips of what and what not to do after a car accident. If you want more detailed information that relates to your unique case, we encourage you to request a FREE consultation with a lawyer from our team.
1. Do not leave the scene of the accident.
Even if you stay at the scene, you still must provide identifying information to the other driver; otherwise, this may be considered a hit-and-run. If you leave without exchanging identifying information, there is a possibility you may be charged with hit-and-run, which carries significant penalties and consequences.
2. Obtain the other driver’s information as well.
This includes names, addresses, phone numbers, license plate numbers, driver’s license numbers, and insurance information. Also obtain the information from any passengers of the other vehicle. These will all be important when the time comes for you to file an insurance claim.
3. Be courteous, but never say “sorry.”
These situations can be testy for some, so if you stay level-headed, calm, and cordial to the other drivers, they may follow suit most likely. That can do a lot to temper the situation. At the same time, be careful what you say at the scene. While our first impulse may be to apologize immediately, this can be unintentionally considered an admission of guilt, and thus, liability. Most of the time, fault is not always clear-cut, so let the insurance companies hash it out.
4. Seek prompt medical treatment.
This may go without saying, but if there were any serious injuries at all, promptly call for emergency medical help. Keep track of all doctor visits and other medical expenses by hanging onto receipts, bills, and other documents. These documents will be crucial during the claims process.
5. Get a police report.
This is necessary if there are injuries or death involved. A police report may not be admissible in court as evidence, if the accident becomes a lawsuit and taken to court, however, the information obtained can be useful during negotiation and settlements. Be sure to gather the names of the officers, as well as their badge numbers.
6. Speak with witnesses, if possible.
Witnesses are also helpful during the claims and settlement processes. Get their identifying information. The insurance companies may reach out to them for an impartial account of the accident as it happened.
7. Take pictures.
Take pictures of the scene, the aftermath, and any injuries. You may also want to take pictures of the license plate, driver’s license, insurance, and any other necessary documents. Pictures of the vehicle are helpful to the insurance company, while the pictures of the identifying information is helpful for your own documentation.
8. Don’t take the first offer.
If you are making a claim with the other party’s insurance company, they may offer a very low settlement to end the case quickly. This offer is usually very low, and is certainly not recommended. Why? Because it does not take into account any long-term medical expenses and other incidental costs. By taking the first offer, this ends all negotiations, so you will not be able to further pursue the case for further compensation.
9. Get an attorney on your side.
We strongly recommend speaking with a Kansas City car accident lawyer to assist you during the claims process. Because there are so many elements involved in the claims process, having a knowledgeable attorney to advocate for you and keep everything organized is not only helpful, you have a better chance of receiving an outcome that is favorable for you.
Were you involved in an accident? Call Klenofsky & Steward, LLC to see how we can help!