What Should I do if I've Been in a Car Accident?
In a nutshell, the two most important considerations after a car crash are 1) your safety; and 2) preserving evidence, including insurance information. The first issue is self explanatory: if you are hurt, make sure that you get medical attention that you need. Many times after a crash your adrenaline will be pumping and you won’t feel any pain. If this happens, an experienced Boulder personal injury lawyer would suggest that you err on the side of caution and get checked out at the first sign of any symptoms.
As to evidence preservation, make sure that you exchange information with the person who you were involved in the crash with. It is important to get their contact information and their insurance information. If the police have been called, often times this information will be contained in the police report. A standard police report looks like this. If the police are on scene and witnesses are present, we suggest that you ask the office to take written witness statements and include them in the officer’s report. Witness statements are valuable when the question of “who is at fault” is in dispute. For example, if you and the at fault driver disagree as to who is at fault, a neutral third party witness can carry a lot of weight in deciding the ultimate question of fault. When a police is not called, however, you must make sure that you accurately get the information that will be important to you in making your claim. Another aspect of evidence preservation is safely documenting the damage to your respective vehicles. A quick photo of the damage to the other vehicle may be useful later in showing the extent of the impact and, by extension, the severity of your injuries. An experienced Boulder personal injury lawyer can assist you in preserving evidence. For example, were there video cameras of the crash? If you are unable to obtain the video footage yourself, sometimes an attorney can do so. Or is there “black box” information on your vehicle that will contradict someone who is pointing the finger at you for driving negligently? An experienced Boulder personal injury lawyer like Cook, Bradford & Levy, has numerous resources available, including relationships with private investigators and engineers, to help in the investigation of any claim.
Although there are a number of opinions about what to do after a car accident, under no circumstances should you leave the scene of an accident without, at a minimum, exchanging information with the other driver. Ultimately it is the accident victim who will have the burden of proving his or her claim, and if you have not taken the steps to reasonably identify the at fault driver it will be highly unlikely that you will be able to recover from the at fault driver after the dust has settled. Of course, there are scenarios, such as hit and run collisions, where it is impossible to identify the person who hit you. When this happens, if you have had the foresight to purchase Uninsured Motorist coverage, you may be able to recover for all the damage that the hit and run driver caused, up to your policy limits. UM coverage is covered in more detail in another section of our website, here.