TOP 10 THINGS TO DO WHEN INVOLVED IN AN AUTO ACCIDENT
March 19, 2018
Traveling by car is the most common method of transportation in America. It is also the deadliest. In 2010, for example, there were an estimated 5,419,000 auto accidents, and more than 30,000 fatalities.
After steadily declining for years, accidents have been on the rise. Driverless cars have the potential to greatly reduce auto accidents in the future, but we are likely years away from any such change on a wide scale. Additionally, recent events show that even driverless cars are unlikely to totally eliminate the potential for auto accidents.
Given the unfortunate reality that auto accidents will continue for the foreseeable future, what should you do if you are involved in an accident? Keep in mind the following helpful tips:
1. Do not leave the scene of the accident. Leaving the scene of an accident can subject a driver to
both civil and criminal liability.
2. To the extent possible, do not alter the scene of the accident. It is important that police or other law enforcement officers get an accurate view and account of what occurred.
3. Seek immediate medical help for any injured person at the scene of the accident. Cars and personal property can always be replaced; lives cannot.
4. Document the license plate number of the other driver and the names of any witnesses. This can be done by making a simple hand-written note or taking a picture with a cell phone. It is best to do so as soon as possible after the collision because other drivers may leave the scene of the incident to avoid liability. The same is true for witnesses. Ascertain the names and contact information of any witness to the accident so that you or your attorney may contact them at a later date.
5. Call the police. Even if no one is injured and the property damage seems minor, it is always a good idea to call law enforcement so that an official record of the event is created. Oftentimes, insurance companies will make case determinations based on whether such a record exists.
6. Exchange insurance information. This seems obvious, but in many cases participants in what appear to be minor collisions fail to exchange information, only later to discover that there was, in fact, significant damage or physical injury. The exchange takes only minutes, but can equate to hundreds or even thousands of dollars in recovery later.
7. Document any damage or physical injuries. The easiest way to do so is to take photographs. A cell phone will do the trick. Quick and simple, these photos can be very useful should a lawsuit be filed relating to the auto collision.
8. Call your insurance company. Most policies have requirements that any insured involved in an auto accident must contact a representative of the insurance company in a timely manner. Do not risk questions of coverage based on untimely notification; do it promptly and put that worry aside.
9. Keep good records. You will most likely receive numerous documents from your or the other driver’s insurance company, such as a claim number, the name of the insurance adjuster, and receipts for expenses incurred relating to the accident. All documentation relating to the auto accident will be of the utmost importance should you decide to file a lawsuit.
10. Call an experienced attorney. This is especially true if you or someone with you was injured as a result of the accident. An experienced attorney can help navigate the difficult legal landscape that follows an accident. Pospisil Swift has this expertise.
Car accidents remain an unfortunate reality in today’s busy world. But that does not mean negligent drivers should avoid liability for injuries or property damage they cause. If you or someone you know has been injured in an auto accident, contact Pospisil Swift by reaching out to Mike Pospisil (816.895.9015) or Matt Swift (816.895.9107) for a free initial consultation.
The information contained on this website is informational only and not intended to be, and does not constitute, legal advice. While we attempt to update our site regularly, the information does not necessarily reflect the most current legal developments. You should not act or refrain from acting based upon information provided on this site without first consulting legal counsel.