Steps You Should Take if You Were in a Car Accident
A Sioux Falls car accident attorney can help guide you through the process
No one expects to be in a car accident, and when they happen, they can often leave you confused and overwhelmed. What’s the first step you should take? What’s the next step to take after that? Should I schedule medical visits? What about the car insurance companies?
You have a lot of questions, and that’s understandable. Luckily, the Sioux Falls car accident lawyers from Northern Plains Justice, LLP have a lot of answers to help prepare you and who can be there for you ─ every step of the way. Here’s a list of helpful steps to take if you’ve been in a car accident:
- Contact the police: When you’ve been in a car accident in South Dakota, one of the first steps to take is to notify the police. Let them know where the crash took place and if anyone needs immediate medical attention.
- Take pictures: If you’re able to take photos of the car accident and the vehicles that were involved, this is a good next step. Try to document damage, street signs/traffic signals, skid marks and if possible, weather conditions. These are all important pieces of evidence to have when trying to win a claim later.
- Don’t admit any wrongdoing: This next step might not seem like much, but it is important. Anything you say to the police or other driver after a car accident can be used against you down the road when dealing with the insurance companies. Even something that may seem harmless like “I’m sorry” could be twisted to pin the blame on you and reduce your chances of receiving compensation.
- Gather Information: The next step to take is to collect information about everyone involved in the car accident, including passengers and pedestrians. Be sure to get their full names, addresses and phone numbers. You’ll also want to take down license plate numbers, the make and model of all the vehicles involved in the crash, and their insurance information.
- Talk to witnesses: If anyone witnessed your car accident, a good next step to take is to ask witnesses to give a statement to the police. Statements from witnesses can tilt the outcome of your case in your favor. It’s a good idea to get the full name, address and phone number of any witnesses, as well. Getting a witness statement right after an accident is a good idea, as memories can fade and people can forget important details.
- Take notes about what happened: Just like witnesses can forget what happened over time, so can you. This next step to take will help you remember the particulars of your car accident, including where and when the crash occurred, damage to vehicles, and if anyone said anything that could be useful later on. Write down or make a recording with facts about how your car accident happened. It will be easier to take this step now while your memory is fresh, rather than later in the process.
- Seek medical attention: One of the most important steps to take after your car accident is to make sure you visit a doctor. You may feel fine after your crash because you don’t have any visible injuries, but that doesn’t mean you don’t have internal damage that could wind up being serious or potentially fatal. If you required a trip to the ER after your car crash, it’s important to follow up with a doctor afterwards to continue treatment and build a record of your injuries. If you are advised by your doctor to visit a chiropractor, be sure to document those visits as well.
- Contact our team to explore legal options: A Sioux Falls car accident lawyer from Northern Plains Justice, LLP can study your car crash to see if you might be entitled to compensation. Our attorneys have experience investigating crashes in South Dakota and can help you through what steps you should take if you decide to file a claim.
- Notify your insurance company: The next step to take is to get in contact with your car insurance company to inform them you’ve been in an accident. Most auto insurance policies require that you notify your insurer of potential claims and that you cooperate with your own insurance company. If you have any questions about what to say, or not to say, to your insurance company, contact us.
- Don’t say anything to other insurance companies: Someone from the other driver’s insurance company may try to contact you after your car accident. You do not have any obligation to speak with an adverse insurance company. Remember,whatever you say could be used against you. Insurance companies will often try to place the blame on you even if it wasn’t your fault. Let us handle them instead, and tell them to direct their questions to an experienced Sioux Falls car accident lawyer.
It can be difficult and confusing to figure out what steps to take after a car accident, but the legal team at Northern Plains Justice, LLP can help give you step-by-step advice and walk you through the process. Contact us for a free consultation, and let a Sioux Falls car accident lawyer from our law firm help you make things right.