If you’ve just been in a car accident, there are probably a dozen thoughts rushing through your head. After the initial shock, you will probably pull over, ask if everyone is ok and look for signs of injury. But what is the next step? Do you call 911? Do you confront the other driver? Contact your insurance company?
The Kansas City car accident lawyers at Peterson & Associates, P.C.™ have created this simple step-by-step guide to follow after being involved in a motor vehicle crash.
Steps to Take After an Auto Collision
- Call 911 – If anyone involved in the accident is visibly injured, or there is damage to any vehicles, call for emergency services immediately. Even a seemingly minor fender-bender might pose a hazard to other motorists still on the road. Not all injuries are immediately visible. Let the professionals administer first aid. If you move someone, you may be personally liable for their injuries.
- Watch for signs of fire – If any of the vehicles involved in the crash exhibit signs of being on fire, including heavy smoke, get away from the vicinity and warn others to do the same. A car or truck on fire could explode, causing additional injuries.
- Wait for emergency vehicles to arrive – You do not need to confront the other driver or get into an argument over whose fault the accident was. Wait for the police and other emergency workers to arrive.
- Obtain a police report – Give your full account of the event to police. Make sure you provide as many details as possible. Ask if you can have a copy of the report. Having an official police report is crucial in liability disputes.
- Gather Information – Get the license plate number, make and model of all vehicles involved in the crash. Check the police report to see that they have the names and contact information of all drivers. Record the date, time and place of the collision. If you have a camera, you may also want to take pictures. The more information you have, the better your chances of pursuing a claim will be.
Most people simply exchange contact information with the other motorists, then part ways if there are no apparent serious injuries. This is a mistake that could cost you heavily. You can’t be sure the other driver will report the accident to their insurance company, or that the information they gave you is even real.
Insurance companies may try to deny your claim, especially if there are expensive medical bills. Even if you are sure the other driver is at-fault, the auto insurance companies might not see it that way.
If you were injured as a result of another driver’s negligence, you may want to contact to an attorney to ensure you receive the compensation you are entitled to. The experienced Missouri car accident lawyers at Peterson & Associates, P.C.™ are here to help. Contact us today for a free consultation.