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What should I do after a car accident?

Every year, there are over 100,000 motor vehicle crashes across the state of Colorado. While many of these accidents are non-fatal, they result in a huge amount of damage to vehicles, property, and people. 

If you’ve never been involved in a car accident before, you may be asking yourself, “What should I do after a car accident?” It’s smart to think ahead and be prepared to take the steps that keep you safe.

Prioritize Your Safety 

After an accident, your top priority should be the safety of you, your passengers, and others involved in the crash. You should never drive away from the scene of the accident. If you can, move your car to the shoulder of the road to avoid oncoming traffic.

You and your passengers should exit the vehicle if it’s safe to do so. However, if someone has suffered head, neck, or back injuries, it’s best to avoid moving them unless they’re in imminent danger. Otherwise, you run the risk of worsening their injuries. 

If you have flares on hand, use them to alert other vehicles to the accident. If you don’t have any flares, keep your emergency flashers on your vehicle. 

Report the Accident

If you, a passenger, or the other party have serious injuries, call 911 as soon as possible. Per Colorado Rev Stat § 42-4-1606 (2016), accidents must be reported if they result in any of the following:

  • Personal injury
  • Death
  • Property damage

Failure to report is a Class 2 misdemeanor traffic offense. Colorado drivers can also submit an online accident report with the Division of Motor Vehicles if there was not a police officer present. 

Document the Accident 

If you’re able, document the accident by taking photos of the vehicles, any damage that’s occurred, and your injuries. Photographic evidence can be incredibly helpful as memories of the accident fade. 

Many don’t realize this is something they should do after a car accident, because they think authorities will handle all evidence collection. However, it’s extremely advisable that you collect evidence of your own, since a personal injury lawsuit is a civil matter. 

That said, do not interfere with any emergency personnel or police officers who arrive at the scene of the accident. If you can’t take pictures immediately after the accident, do so as soon as you can. 

Exchange Details with the Other Party 

While the police will collect contact information from you and the other party, you should also exchange this information. Get the name, address, phone number, and insurance details from the other driver. You’ll also be able to request a copy of the accident report from the police later on.  

When speaking with the other driver, it’s critical that you refrain from saying you’re sorry or making any type of admission of liability, even if you feel that the accident was your fault. Don’t blame or accept blame in regards to the accident. 

Seek Medical Attention 

All too often, accident victims choose not to see a doctor because the injuries don’t seem serious. However, the extent of an accident injury is not always immediately apparent. 

Injuries such as whiplash, head trauma, back pain, and neck pain could be indicative of a much more serious problem. Seek medical attention after an injury just to be safe. 

Report the Accident to Your Insurance Company

Notify your insurance company of the accident as soon as possible. Your policy may require immediate disclosure and cooperation following an accident, so it’s best to know what your policy states. 

Your insurance coverage may also have medical benefits, known as Med Pay. If you pay extra for Med Pay, you can and should use it to cover your accident-related medical bills. 

Seek Advice from a Car Accident Lawyer

Consulting a lawyer may seem like the last thing you have time for following an accident. However, the sooner you contact a Denver car accident lawyer, the better. The other party’s insurance company will likely reach out to you in the days following the accident. 

However, they will try to use your statement against you to claim you’re more at fault than the other driver.

Rather than go up against an insurance company on your own, rely on a skilled lawyer who will be your advocate every step of the way, from estimating the value of a potential lawsuit to ensuring your rights are protected at all times.

Contact an Experienced Colorado Personal Injury Lawyer Today

Calling an attorney is among the most important things you should do after a car accident. They will fight for your rightful compensation while handling complicated insurance claims processes. Our Colorado injury lawyers have extensive experience in recovering damages for car accident victims across the state. 

Contact us today to schedule your free case evaluation.