If you’ve been involved in a car accident, you may have questions about what you should do. One thing people commonly ask is whether they should visit a doctor even if they don’t think they’re injured. There are several things you should — and should not — do after a car accident.
Siegfried & Jensen understands the confusion you experience. We also know that you may need assistance handling the aftermath of your accident. We are here to help you.
What Should You Do After an Auto Accident?
Even if you don’t appear to be hurt, a car accident can stun and rattle you. Keep this list of dos and don’ts handy so you know what to do, although we hope you won’t experience an auto collision and need it.
Assess and Assist
Most car accidents involve more than one vehicle, and each can carry a driver and passengers. Assess the condition and injuries of others involved in the accident and provide assistance if you’re able.
Contact Law Enforcement
Because you’ve got information about other people’s injuries, it’s important that you dial 911 even if you think someone else is calling also. The details you provide might save a life because it can help the dispatcher decide which first responders and equipment to send to your accident scene.
Because you’re at the site of the collision when it happened, you can collect evidence that may be difficult to find later. Use your phone to take pictures and videos of any details you think may become relevant in an investigation, including:
- Vehicle placement and damages
- Skid marks, potholes, or roadway obstacles
- The entire accident scene from various angles
- Witness statements and your own recollection of events
- Weather and visibility conditions
Accept or Seek Medical Treatment
Yes, you should visit a doctor or accept treatment by medical personnel at the accident scene. This benefits you for more than one reason.
Some injuries aren’t visible, and others take time to develop. Adrenaline can mask pain. Even if you don’t think you’re hurt, your accident may have caused serious injuries. Left untreated, these can potentially become fatal.
Doctors, paramedics, and other qualified medical personnel know how to perform a thorough examination to assess you for injuries, even the invisible ones. Allowing an examination may save your life.
Another reason to accept medical treatment is to provide a baseline of your medical condition for a potential personal injury claim. Opposing insurance companies may attempt to state that the accident didn’t cause your injuries. The report that your medical assessment provider prepares will refute that.
Contact a Car Accident Attorney
In Utah, you have four years to file an injury claim after most car accidents. Your car accident lawyer will tell you if yours follows a different statute of limitations. Although you can wait, there are several reasons to consult an attorney soon after your accident. A competent attorney will:
- Assess your case and provide information and legal advice
- Ensure that you meet the applicable statute of limitations (unless you wait too long)
- Prepare and file paperwork
- Serve as your spokesperson with investigators and insurance company representatives
- Negotiate with insurance companies to obtain a favorable settlement offer
- Take your case to trial if warranted
Any car accident claim takes time to investigate and prepare. Some are more complicated than others, such as those involving a government or employee or commercial vehicles. Contacting an attorney early gives us time to be thorough and meet all deadlines.
What Should You Not Do?
Part of your attorney’s advice typically informs you of things you shouldn’t do because they can adversely affect your case and potential compensation for your damages.
Don’t Admit Fault
Fault is a huge factor in determining if you’re eligible to recover compensation and how much you might receive. In Utah, you can’t receive compensation if you’re 50% or more at fault for causing a car accident. In addition, the amount you can receive is reduced by your percentage of fault.
Even saying that you’re sorry may be used against you when insurance companies or others assign blame. It’s best not to admit to any degree of fault to anyone, even police officers at the scene of your accident. Let your attorney assist you in matters of responsibility.
Avoid Social Media
Many Americans use some form of social media daily. Any photos or comments you post are fair game to investigators who may try to discredit you in order to avoid paying compensation. Even a photo of you at your child’s birthday party can be twisted, so avoid social media until your lawyer advises otherwise.
Don’t Stop Recommended Medical Treatment
You shouldn’t cease recommended treatments for similar reasons that you should accept an initial medical assessment immediately after your car accident: your health and your potential personal injury claim.
Stopping medical treatments or medications before your physician releases you can slow or prevent your healing. If you’re having trouble getting to your appointments or other issues, your attorney may be able to suggest resources to help you.
The severity of how your injuries affect you plays a part in determining some types of damages you might be eligible to receive. If you stop your medical treatments early, opposing lawyers can assert that your injuries aren’t serious because you would continue them otherwise. This action could reduce the amount of compensation you obtain.
Don’t Sign Anything
Legal documents often have confusing language. Insurance company investigators or representatives may ask you to sign documents with hidden terms that can risk your claim and potential compensation.
Your attorney can review these documents before you sign anything to protect your interests. Your lawyer will also speak to insurance company personnel on your behalf for the same reasons.
Do You Need a Car Accident Attorney?
There is no law stating that you must hire an attorney to represent you if you’re involved in a car accident. There are, however, several laws, exceptions to them, and other factors that can complicate your claim. These include:
- No-fault insurance
- Modified comparative fault laws
- Commercial or government vehicle involvement
- Varying statutes of limitations
- The potential for multiple at-fault parties
Most people aren’t familiar with all these factors or how they can impact a car accident claim. Your case requires a thorough investigation and careful preparation to obtain maximum compensation, and an attorney from Siegfried & Jensen has the resources, knowledge, and experience to complete those tasks successfully.
Most people receive more compensation with an attorney on their side. The choice is yours, but contacting us won’t cost you anything and can greatly benefit you.
Why Should You Choose Siegfried & Jensen?
Siegfried & Jensen has handled car accident and other types of personal injury claims since 1990, helping our clients win over $1.2 billion. If you live in Utah or surrounding states, we’d like to assist you as well. Whether you have questions about medical attention after a car accident or others, contact us 24/7.
We offer a free case evaluation, and you won’t pay us unless we win money for you. You need to focus on recovering, so let us take care of your accident claim. Call us at (801) 845-9000 or submit our contact form online to find out more about how we can assist you.