According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there are approximately 17,000 or more car accidents per day in the United States.
Even the most careful drivers are at risk of being in a car accident because we can’t control the millions of OTHER drivers on the road. With more and more distractions these days—like smartphones, animated billboards, GPS, or simply dealing with the everyday struggles of life—people aren’t as focused on the road …and that’s when accidents can happen.
In fact, distracted driving is one of the top reasons for auto accidents, followed by drunk driving, speeding, and weather.
But even if you can’t control whether or not you get into a car crash, you can control what happens afterward in order to protect yourself and your interests.
What NOT to Do After a Car Accident
First, don’t ever do these things after the accident. They will hurt your chances of getting fairly compensated for your injuries and property damage.
- Never admit fault to the other driver or a police officer even if you think you were at fault. This is very important!
- Don’t suggest that you’re okay in case injuries show up later on. Some injuries like whiplash can take up to a couple of days for the symptoms to appear.
- Don’t volunteer information such as why you thought an accident occurred.
- Don’t accuse the other driver of wrongdoing. This is not the time to place blame.
Instead of admitting fault or laying blame, once you report the accident to the police, you should immediately get in touch with an experienced car accident attorney. In the Las Vegas area, Anthem Injury Lawyers offers you the benefit of our years of experience representing people in car accident cases, including drunk driving and pedestrian accidents. Call us today for a free initial consultation: (702) 857-6000.
What should you do instead?
What to Do After a Car Accident
Regardless of whether or not you are at fault for the accident, you should follow these steps after the accident.
If you are involved in an accident, it is your legal obligation to stop your car no matter how minor the accident.
Car accidents can be shocking and scary. If you take a deep breath you can center yourself and figure out your next steps.
3. Assess the Scene
Are you hurt or injured? If so, call 911 and stay where you are until you receive proper medical treatment. However, if you are well enough and the car is operational, move your car to a safe area like the side of the road, turn on your hazard lights and turn off your vehicle. If you have cones or flares, set those up to warn other vehicles. If the other driver or another passenger or pedestrian is hurt or injured you should also call 911.
4. Call the Police
Even if both parties are not injured, or if the car accident was minor like a fender bender, it is still a good idea to call the police because your insurance company may require a police report when filing a claim. When the police arrive, tell them exactly what happened. If you don’t know or aren’t sure, then don’t speculate or misstate any facts. If they ask if you are injured say that you don’t know, because often injuries might not show up until later. Even after minor accidents, you can sustain a serious or permanent injury. If there are no injuries or property damage and the police can’t make it to the accident scene, you can still file an accident report with the DMV. Some state laws require any car accidents to be reported.
5. Gather the Facts
The more information you can get, the better, as it can make the insurance claims process smoother or help you build a stronger case for any potential lawsuit. Try to keep the dialogue with the other driver to a minimum, sticking to facts and exchanging insurance information and contact information. You’ll want to make sure to write down as much as you remember about the accident. If you can, get the following important information:
- The full name and driver’s license number of the driver involved in the accident
- Color, make, model, year and license plate number of the car or cars involved
- Insurance company and insurance company policy number of all drivers involved
- Contact information for drivers including name, address, and phone number
- Contact information for any witnesses including name, address, and phone number
- Location of the scene of the accident
- The name of the street you are on and nearest cross street or exact address
- The name, badge number and contact information of the police officer who reports to the scene of the accident
- Date and time of the accident
- The direction you were traveling in and the direction the other vehicle was traveling in
- Notes on the driving conditions like the weather, debris on the road, malfunctioning traffic lights, etc.
- If you can, take pictures using your mobile phone to document the scene noting any damages to your car, property damage and the positioning of the cars on the street. If you are injured, take pictures of your injuries as well. Some car insurance companies let you upload pictures directly through their mobile app. It might even be a good idea to keep a disposable camera in your glove box in case you don’t have your phone on you after an accident. These photographs could provide potential evidence if building a case against the other driver.
6. Report the accident
As soon as you can, contact your insurance company, even from the scene of the accident. Check the back of your insurance card for contact information if you’re not sure who to call. Once you’ve contacted your insurance company, an insurance agent will help you with the next steps including filing a claim if that is necessary. If your car is non-operational, they can help you with transportation like getting a rental car.
Sometimes insurance claims can be straightforward, but other times they can get complicated and last a while so make sure to keep all your accident-related information and paperwork in one place. This includes your insurance claim number, the name of your insurance claims adjuster, receipts for any related expenses like a rental car, medical bills, or car repairs.
However, remember that insurance companies will not give you the same information as a personal injury lawyer, which is why in some cases it might be beneficial to obtain legal advice in order to protect your rights, get the maximum compensation on your vehicle, and/or get the best medical treatment. Each jurisdiction has a different statute of limitations, some as short as 30 days if the accident involves a governmental entity. If you feel like you might need a lawyer, you want to contact one sooner rather than later.
Ideally, all drivers keep their eyes on the road and driving conditions are always perfectly safe. But since this isn’t always the case, it is best to be prepared for a potential car accident.
Another way to be prepared is to familiarize yourself with experienced car accident lawyers in your area. In Las Vegas, Anthem Injury Lawyers is the firm to call if you have been involved in an auto accident. You can see if you have a case versus other drivers who may have acted with negligence during the accident. Call our Las Vegas personal injury law firm today: (702) 857-6000
7. Contact a Car Accident Lawyer
Once you’ve gotten medical attention and documented the accident, you should seek legal advice from an experienced auto accident attorney. An experienced personal injury law firm will be able to walk you through the process of dealing with your claim.
The insurance companies have claim representatives who work for them whose job is to pay claimants as little as possible. Speak with a lawyer who has experience working with car crash victims to have someone to advocate for you and your rights.
Experienced Las Vegas Car Accident Attorneys
If you or a loved one has been in an auto accident in the State of Nevada, you should speak to an experienced personal injury attorney who is licensed in Nevada as soon as possible. The law firm of Anthem Injury Lawyers has a dedicated team of car accident lawyers and staff who are ready to help you with your car accident case.
We offer free case evaluations. Our office is conveniently located in Henderson, but we work with clients all over the Las Vegas Valley, including North Las Vegas, Summerlin, Spring Valley, Anthem, and the Strip. Contact us today for a free consultation at (702) 857-6000.