If you are injured in a car accident what steps should you take immediately? We all know it is important to check for injuries, call the police and move the vehicles out of harm’s way, as needed. There are, however, additional tips you should be aware of if you are involved in a car accident.
It is important that you consider your legal rights, and make sure that your insurance company or another driver’s insurance company does not take advantage of the situation and neglect to compensate you for vehicle damage, property damage or injury.
As car accident attorneys, we have the legal expertise to guide you if you have been involved in an auto accident. Take a look at our top 10 tips below.
- Don’t admit fault at the scene. In many cases, application of the rules of the road to a particular set of facts can be a challenge. Speeding by another motorist, for example, can cause the speeder to forfeit the right of way in some circumstances. Some factors that may be affecting the other driver, like alcohol, drug or cell phone use, may not be available to you. Because of the circumstantial rules of the road and not knowing all of the relevant facts, who’s at fault may not be clear-cut immediately following the accident so you should never admit that the fault was yours.
- File an accident report. If someone is injured, or there is $1,000 or more in property damage to any single property, or $200 or more to government property, call the police right away. If you do not meet this threshold, you should get the following information:
- Other driver full name
- Other driver address
- Other driver phone number and date of birth
- Other drivers “drivers License Number”
- Name and address of vehicle owner, if different from driver
- License plate number, state, expiration.
- Vehicle make, model and year
- Vehicle Identification Number (drivers corner windshield)
Form MV2002, available from the DMV web site, should be completed with this information, and sent to the Department of Motor Vehicles
- Report the accident to your insurance company. Whenever you are involved in an accident, you need to report the accident to your insurance company. If you have an agent, start there. If you get your insurance online, go to the policy to find the number to call to report it. All insurance policies have “prompt notice” requirements, where benefits may be denied if an accident is not properly reported.
- Cooperate with authorities and other drivers. Police exercise discretion on many things contained in the car accident police report. If you are rude, short or temperamental with the police officers, some of their discretional statements may go against you. This also holds true for your insurance company; it is important to be respectful and pleasant, so you can ensure the documents are not unconsciously skewed unfavorably.
- Do not sign anything, unless it’s for the police or your insurance company. Sometimes, the other driver’s insurer will request employment and medical authorizations. The medical authorizations are mostly blank, allowing them to be filled in to get any records the insurer wants. If you are going to provide records, and you are not required to provide them to the other driver’s insurance company, then make sure they are appropriately limited. What are appropriate limits? It depends. Typically, family practice doctor’s records for 5 years, and any records for providers where you had accident treatment.
- Do not give a recorded statement to the other insurance company. You are required to give a recorded statement to you own insurance company only.
- Call a qualified Milwaukee car accident attorney. Find an auto accident law firm that specializes in this type of case, has experience, and a track record of results. Not a firm that has paralegals and investigators for client contact and case development.
- Document the accident. It is important to take note of the car accident conditions and document the damage and surrounding areas. This includes the roadway, where the impact occurred and what damage was done to the vehicles. It is very important to take photos of the car accident if you can to act as key evidence.
- Seek medical care, and follow your doctor’s advice. Be complete in describing your injuries, do not exaggerate or embellish, follow up as needed, and work with your primary care doctor for any appropriate referrals.
- Download our accident tip sheet so you are prepared next time. Take the time to prepare, and share this helpful car accident checklist with loved ones.
At Murphy & Prachthauser we practice the law the way it should be practiced – motivated and equipped to do our best for you. We take pride in being good lawyers who help people.
If you have a case you would like to speak to a lawyer about, please contact us to schedule a free consultation and get an experienced team working on your behalf.