If you’ve been involved in a car accident, you know that it can be an overwhelming experience. The initial impact can leave you in shock. Even after the dust settles, it can be difficult to think clearly and take the necessary steps to protect yourself.
The stress from a car accident can cause people to make mistakes that jeopardize their chances of collecting compensation for their losses. That’s why our car accident attorneys at the Cain Law Office put together this guide of “Do’s” and “Don’ts” to help victims protect themselves after a crash.
What to Do After a Car Accident
Let’s start with what you should do after being involved in a car accident. Here are the steps you should take after a collision:
- Do call 911 right away. You and anyone else involved in the crash may have serious injuries that require urgent treatment. Call 911 to get help on the scene as soon as possible. You’ll also want to make sure law enforcement has a chance to investigate the scene and gather evidence. Get a copy of the police accident report. The police may also assign fault for the crash and issue a ticket, which may help your case down the line.
- Do exchange information with the other parties involved. Get their names, driver’s license numbers, the license plate numbers for all vehicles involved in the crash, insurance information, make and model of the other vehicles, and the drivers’ personal contact information (name, phone number, mailing address, email address, etc.)
- Do take as many pictures as you can. The more evidence and documentation you have for your accident claim, the stronger your case for compensation. Take pictures of your injuries, damage to your car and the other vehicles, road hazards or bad weather that may have contributed to the crash, traffic or surveillance cameras that might have recorded what happened, and anything else that might be relevant.
- Do get the names and contact information for witnesses. Anyone who saw the crash may be able to provide valuable information to help your case. Your attorney can follow up with witnesses later to get their statements on record.
- Do see a doctor as soon as possible and follow your doctor’s instructions carefully. If you aren’t taken to the hospital right after the accident, seek medical care as soon as you can. Be sure to follow your doctor’s treatment regimen precisely and get treated for any injuries you’ve suffered. Waiting to get treatment for your injuries can give insurance companies ammunition to argue that they aren’t that serious.
- Do contact a lawyer as soon as possible. Once you have received treatment, the next professional you should speak with is a lawyer. It is crucial that you have an experienced attorney on your side from the very beginning to protect your rights and take the pressure off you.
What Not to Do After a Car Collision
Here are the actions you need to avoid after a crash:
- Don’t leave the scene. Drivers sometimes panic after an accident and drive away. Do not flee the scene. Even if you are partially to blame, you may still be able to recover compensation for your injuries.
- Don’t discuss blame or fault. If the police ask you questions at the scene, answer truthfully but avoid speculating. Stick to the facts, and don’t say any more than you need to. Even a simple “I’m sorry” when speaking with the other driver could be construed as an admission of fault.
- Don’t allow insurance companies to take a recorded statement. Your statement is a crucial piece of evidence in any car accident claim. So it’s essential to watch what you say. The other driver’s insurer will use your own words against you. Let your attorney provide the insurance companies with the information they need while you focus on getting better.
- Don’t sign any paperwork without calling an attorney. Insurance companies know that car accident victims may be desperate for money after an accident once the medical bills and other expenses start piling up. They may try to get you to accept a quick settlement that doesn’t match what you’re owed for your injuries. Don’t accept any settlement without talking to an attorney first.
- Don’t wait to file an injury claim if you’ve been hurt. The Oklahoma statute of limitations on personal injury claims is two years, meaning you only have that much time from the date of your accident to file an injury claim. Two years may sound like a while, but it takes time to gather the necessary evidence for a successful car accident claim. Call an attorney as soon as possible after an accident for your best chance at recovering compensation.
Contact the Cain Law Office for Help After a Crash
Helping car accident victims rebuild their lives is a core part of our practice at the Cain Law Office. We’ve been helping Oklahoma car accident victims for more than 25 years, and firm founder Monty Cain has been named one of the country’s top 100 trial lawyers by the National Trial Lawyers. Our results speak for themselves, and we want to help you fight for the full compensation that you’re owed.
Schedule your free initial consultation today with an Edmond car accident lawyer. We do not charge any fees upfront, and you only pay us if we win money for you.