Anyone who has had a car accident with another driver will know the crunch of metal and tinkling of glass hitting the road is only the start of it. There are many things you should and should not do if you have a car accident.
Firstly, have a first aid kit, fire extinguisher and a safety triangle handy. These will be helpful items if you are involved in an accident or witness one. A car accident can ruin your day people may be injured, and serious damage to your vehicle and that of others, can occur in seconds. You may also have to deal with liability issues which can carry huge costs. Ensure your vehicle is insured. If you do have an accident, you should be covered for any damages that may be caused.
If you are involved in an accident, try to stay calm. Panic can cause others to become hysterical or alarmed, which will make the situation worse. Take a deep breath and think about what you need to do.
CHECK FOR INJURIES
Check for any injuries to the people in your vehicle. If everyone is okay and you are able to, check that the occupants of the other vehicle are uninjured. There may be some basic first aid treatment that you can attend to otherwise, if the injuries are more serious, you will need to seek medical help.
MAKE YOURSELF SAFE
If it is safe to do so, switch on your hazard lights and get out of your vehicle. Otherwise, move your vehicle to a safe spot that is not blocking traffic. Set up safety triangles to warn other motorists that there has been an accident and to slow down. If you can’t get out of your car, or it is not safe to, stay seat belted in, call 911 and wait for help to arrive.
CALL THE POLICE
Even if the accident you have been involved in is minor, the police should still be notified that there has been an incident. Call 911 and this way the police can file an accident report for the records, and any required fire or ambulance teams can be sent to the scene.
See if there are any witnesses to the crash. If anyone else saw what happened, ask them to stay on the scene so that they can provide statements about their view of the accident.
LOOK FOR DETAILS
Look for the other driver’s license plate number and make and model of vehicle that they are driving. Exchange personal information, such as name, address, phone numbers, insurance company and policy number, with all drivers involved in the incident. If the driver doesn’t own the vehicle, be sure to get the owner’s details as well. This information will be very helpful for insurance purposes after the initial shock of the accident. If the other driver is aggressive and uncooperative, record any information you can about the vehicle (eg number plate, make and model) and report the incident to police.
If the accident is a minor one, note down anything you remember. Describe what happened with notes and images of how the accident occurred. You could even take pictures of the scene including any damage to vehicles, the roads, traffic signs and the direction the cars were travelling in. This information will help authorities to decide who was at fault.
TALK TO YOUR INSURANCE PROVIDER
If you need to, file a claim with your insurance company. If the accident was minor and your car does not need extensive repairs, it may cost less to pay for the repairs, rather than take out an insurance claim. You should still notify the insurance company of the incident, regardless of the damage caused.
THINGS TO DO AFTER A CAR ACCIDENT
Car accidents can wreak havoc on lives. Not only can car accidents cause serious bodily injury and sometimes permanent disability, but they can also cause a lot of financial problems through property damage, lost wages, etc. They also cause stress, anxiety, and duress. Many people think that if someone else hits them, they’ll be fine–the other person’s insurance will take care of everything. This isn’t always true.
• Check for injuries and make sure everyone is okay. Call an ambulance if needed.
• Stay at the scene. You can be charged with a crime if you leave the scene, especially is someone is injured.
• Call the police, even if it is a minor accident. Having a police report is helpful to determine liability.
• Tell The Truth and Don’t Apologize: Everything you say is probably going to be written down in a police report. If it wasn’t your fault then don’t say it was and don’t apologize. Just give an accurate and detailed witness statement. It will likely be used later to help determine liability.
• Take pictures: If possible to do safely, take pictures of the accident before cars are moved. However, it is important to stay safe and move the vehicles to the side of the road. If you weren’t able before, take pictures once the cars are moved.
• Exchange Information: It is important to know who all was involved. Don’t rely on the police to preserve the information. They are usually pretty good but mistakes do happen. Write down the license plates of all parties involved, including witnesses, full name and contact information, Insurance company and policy number, Driver’s license and license plate number, Type, color and model of vehicle
• Location of accident: The III recommends that you avoid discussing fault when going over the facts with the other driver: When you file an insurance claim, the adjuster reviewing your claim will determine who’s at fault based on an inspection of the vehicles/property damaged, information provided by you and the other parties involved in the accident, and any supporting documentation, like the police report or photographs from the scene.
• Seek Medical Attention: it won’t cost you anything initially: All insurance policies have PIP, which covers a minimum of $3000 of medical care after an accident. Many people don’t seek care because they are worried about paying for it. For purposes of the case, it is important to document your injuries as well. Seek medical care from a certified injury professional. Not all doctors are the same and know what to do after an accident. We can refer you to our recommended professionals if you like.
• Contact Your Insurance Company: Report the claim to your insurance company at your earliest convenience. Many people think if they were not at fault they don’t need to file a claim. That is not true; you do need to file a claim. Utah Law states that your premiums will not go up if you file a claim for which you are not at fault.
• Seek Legal Advice: Almost all personal injury attorneys offer free consultations. Seek advice early on. We can steer you away from common pitfalls and tell you if you do or do not have a case. Find a qualified attorney who focuses on personal injury, not your neighbor or church member. Personal Injury Law is just as specialized and complicated as any other area of law. Insurance companies will try to convince you not to seek an attorney…because they don’t want you to have one. Protect your own rights.
• Do Not Sign Things Without Reading Them. Many times insurance companies try to get you to sign things that are prejudicial to you. For example, sometimes they slip in a full release of your bodily injury claims in the property damage papers. Make sure you are reading everything or hire an attorney before you have to sign anything.
• Keep a Journal and Accurate Records: Lots of things will happen all at once and you think you’ll remember everything later, but over time you will start to forget things. Keep accurate records and notes in case you need to recall details later.
Making a claim to your insurance provider
Phone your insurance company as soon as possible ideally at the time of the accident. They’ll ask for:
• Your policy number or information to identify you, such as your post code and car registration number.
• The registration number of the cars involved.
• The driver’s name, address and phone number.
• The driver’s insurance details if you have them.
Still tell your insurer about the accident, because the other driver may try to make a claim without you knowing. You may choose not to claim:
• To keep your no claims discount intact, if you don’t have a ‘protected no claims discount’.
• If you decide to pay for the repairs yourself.
These are people who arrange accidents in order to make a fraudulent insurance claim. They may do this by braking unexpectedly, causing you to go into the back of their car, or by flashing their lights to indicate you’re free to go before purposely crashing into you. They may also take out their brake light bulbs, giving you no warning when they hit the brakes in front of you, and making it more likely you will crash into them. Crash-for-cash claimants will usually blame you for the accident and give you their insurance information, which is sometimes written out ready on a bit of paper. A few weeks after this happens, you might receive a letter from your insurance company highlighting the damage from the accident the claims they make can be exaggerated (sometimes including recovery vehicle, car hire, or whiplash injuries to others that haven’t occurred) to maximize the money they try to win back.
You’ll be less likely to be involved in such a scam if you keep your eyes open and:
• Be especially careful in stop to start traffic, at merging junctions and roundabouts.
• Leave plenty of space between you and the car in front.
• Be wary of erratic driving behavior such as slowing for no reason.
• Take note if their brake lights don’t seem to be working and increase your distance.
Some drivers install dash-cams to show their innocence against a crash-for-cash claim. These can be very helpful in establishing proof of a crash-for-cash claim.
Car safety technology may help to reduce the risk of having a car accident leaving you feeling safer while you drive. Cars fitted with certain types of safety technology will usually have a lower insurance group than a similar car not so equipped, which can attract a lower premium. Many cars already come with audible and visual sensors when maneuvering your car in tight spaces or automatic parallel parking. You can check with your insurance company to see if they’ll offer additional discount for such equipment. These are the few safety tech features:
• Autonomous emergency braking (AEB): the brakes are automatically applied if sensors on the car detect that you’re going to have a crash, helping to either stop or decrease the severity of the accident.
• Adaptive cruise control: the car automatically reduces its set speed if the traffic ahead is travelling more slowly than you.
• Dashboard cameras: these record the traffic ahead of (and, optionally, behind) you, which can help prevent crash-for-cash claimants from making fraudulent insurance claims or provide evidence of what happened when you have to make a claim.
• Lane departure warning system: sensors or cameras pick up your cars position on the road and warn you if you’re swaying out of your lane.
Accidents are sometimes hard to avoid regardless of how carefully you drive. Keeping a checklist with post-accident steps in the car can help you make sure you’re covered when contacting your car insurer.
Car Accident Attorney Free Consultation
If you’ve been injured in a car accident in Utah, please call Ascent Law LLC for your free consultation (801) 676-5506. We want to help you.
8833 S. Redwood Road, Suite C
West Jordan, Utah
84088 United States
Telephone: (801) 676-5506