Steps After an Accident
What Should I Do After a Vehicle Accident?
Your health and safety and that of your passengers should be your top concern after a vehicle accident. If the accident was not too severe and you’re capable of taking actions after an accident, you should do so. There are things you can do after an accident that may help if you later file a legal claim in a Kentucky court due to the accident.
After an accident, if you can, call 911 and get the police, and an ambulance if needed, to the scene as quickly as possible. They will investigate the accident, create a report and possibly issue a ticket or even arrest the responsible party. They can also make sure the scene is safe and redirect traffic so there aren’t any secondary accidents.
Take care of yourself after a Kentucky traffic accident.
If you are conscious after the accident but feel that you’ve been injured, unless there is a fire in the car, you smell smoke or gasoline, you may be better off staying in the car. Staggering out of the car and into traffic may cause another accident and more injuries. Simply trying to stand or walk may worsen your condition, especially if you suffered a neck or spine injury. After an accident you may be in shock and numb to your injuries or their severity.
Should you use an ambulance? If you’re injured, you should do so to leave the scene and be examined in the nearest hospital.
- Because of the shock of the accident, it may be hours or even days before you feel the pain of injuries.
- Getting examined and treated as quickly as possible may prevent you from unknowingly worsening those injuries.
- If you don’t immediately go to the hospital, see your own doctor or go to a medical clinic as soon as you possibly can.
- The longer you delay getting examined and treated, the more likely it is that an insurance company will claim an injury wasn’t accident-related and shouldn’t be the basis for compensation.
Document the evidence of your Kentucky traffic accident.
If you feel well enough to get out of the vehicle and it’s safe to do so, exit your vehicle and survey the scene.
- If your vehicle can be driven, get it off the roadway and turn on your emergency flashers.
- Before doing so, and if you can do it quickly and safely, take photos of the scene and the positions of the vehicles.
- Ask your passengers and those in other affected vehicles if they’re hurt and need an ambulance.
Photos and videos could be very important evidence any legal action.
- Whether your vehicle is pulled off the road or not, take photos of the scene and the vehicles in a safe manner that doesn’t expose you to traffic or other dangers.
- If bad weather or road conditions were a factor in the accident, take photos or a video of the roadway to show why the accident may have happened. Did one of the vehicles swerve out of its lane to avoid a pothole or other damage to the roadway? Was the road covered in water, snow or ice?
If there are any witnesses at the scene, ask them for their names and contact information, and get an idea of what they saw.
Exchange information with the other driver(s). Get their names, contact information, phone numbers, the name of their insurance company and the policy number. You could also take photos of the other driver’s licenses and insurance cards.
What not to do after your Kentucky traffic accident
Don’t make any admissions of guilt or apologize for anything to the other driver or the investigating officer. That could be used against you in a police investigation and any civil legal action you might file. You want to be honest to the police officer, but if you broke the law prior to the accident and tell the officer what you did, you risk being cited or arrested.
No matter who did what or who may or may not be to blame for the accident, remain calm and communicate as professionally as possible.
- After an accident is not the time to yell, scream, make accusations, threaten or do harm to the other driver. The situation is bad enough — don’t make it worse.
- If the other driver is being belligerent or threatening, it’s all the more important to have police come to the scene. If you fear for your safety, lock yourself into your car, if possible, until police arrive.
Don’t leave the scene until you’ve spoken to the police officer and gotten his or her approval. Leaving the scene before talking to the officer, could result in your being charged with evading responsibility (hit and run) and make your legal claims for injuries that much more difficult.
Don’t deal with an insurance company by yourself after a Kentucky traffic accident.
After the accident and after you’ve been seen by a medical professional, file a claim with your insurance company. Give them a bare outline of what happened and avoid details. Tell them you will give them additional information after you talk to a lawyer, then call our office at 859-233-3641.
If someone from an insurance company contacts you to get information, whether it’s your carrier or the other driver’s insurance company, tell them you’re consulting with an attorney and will talk to them later. Do not write any statements or sign any forms. You could severely impact or even end any rights you have to compensation if you state the wrong things or sign forms you don’t fully understand.
One of the biggest benefits of retaining an attorney after a vehicle accident is that you don’t have to deal with the insurance companies.
- We know accident and insurance law, understand how insurance companies operate, and protect your rights to compensation..
- You can focus on recovery and getting your life back together while we focus on protecting your interests and obtaining compensation for your injuries.
If you or a loved one has been involved in a vehicle accident of any type and you were not at fault, you need to know your rights and seek legal protection. You can bet the insurance company knows what to do to keep you from getting fair compensation. We can help. Call Julie Butcher, the Lexington, KY, Vehicle Accident Lawyer at 859-233-3641 or fill out our online contact form for a free consultation.