A serious car accident is almost always a traumatic experience. You are likely in pain, and are overwhelmed with emotions and questions – What should I do? Who should I call? Am I ok? How bad is the damage? How will I pay for this?
If your car is badly damaged, chances are, your body will feel the residual affects of the accident – eventually, if not immediately. Although some injuries may not be felt right away, it’s important to keep calm in the moment and follow these six steps immediately after a car accident.
1. Call the police and take pictures of everything
If your vehicle is drivable after an accident, go to the side of the road where you are safe from oncoming traffic. Next, call the police to report the accident. Having the police come out and document the accident and issue a citation to the at-fault driver can significantly help your case later on.
Finally, if your injuries permit, take pictures of the scene of the accident. This ensures that your series of events are backed-up by photographs of the damage, angle of the vehicles, and positions of the vehicles in the street. This will be important not only to show your insurance company who was at fault but may be necessary if you need to go to court sometime in the future to seek compensation.
2. Seek medical care immediately
Regardless of whether you are feeling the effects of the accident, you should seek medical attention immediately. A car accident can get your body excited, releasing endorphins that mask an injury or pain that the accident may have caused. The results of the accident, and any injury, may not surface for a few days or even weeks after. Some common injuries that individuals may suffer are whiplash, back injuries, and concussions.
The longer you take to seek medical treatment, the more the other insurance company’s defense attorneys will try to use this against you – to show that you were not in fact seriously injured and waited for some time before seeking care. Start the paper trail right away and consult a doctor for a medical evaluation.
3. Colorado has time limits following your car accident
According to Colorado law, you have three years from the date of the auto accident to file a personal injury lawsuit. That time will run out after three years, and you will not be able to seek compensation for any injuries resulting from the accident.
By consulting an attorney immediately after your accident, you are giving yourself ample time to investigate the crash and negotiate a fair settlement. Aside from the statute of limitations, here are some other Colorado laws on damages to keep in mind:
- Colorado has a comparative fault rule – If you were partially responsible for the accident, you may only collect damages for the percentage of fault the other driver had for the accident. In Colorado, an injured party that is 50% or more responsible for an accident is barred from recovering. In cases where fault is not clear or questionable, it is important to have the attorneys at Alhasoon, Glidden and Glidden on your side.
- Colorado Legislation has placed a cap on non-economic damages available to injured victim in certain cases. Examples of non-economic damages are pain and suffering, emotional distress, loss of companionship, inconvenience, loss of enjoyment of life, etc.
4. Document Everything
Following the car accident, make sure you keep detailed notes, pictures, and records of anything related to the accident. This may include things such as:
- Doctor and medical visits,
- Medical bills,
- Out of pocket medical expenses,
- Cost of insurance coverage,
- Lost time at work due to the accident, and
- Any pain or discomfort due to injuries
It is always helpful to have as many notes as possible documenting the day to day difficulties the accident may have caused. This will be useful should the matter ever go to trial. Also, if the pain has reached a high degree of discomfort, it may be wise to keep a journal, noting the types of pain and when it occurs.
5. Limit communication with the other driver’s insurance company
Typically, one day after a serious accident, an adjuster from the other driver’s insurance company will reach out to you to discuss the accident. In situations where they know their driver is at fault, the other company may attempt to offer you an amount for settlement of the accident – to get themselves off the hook easily.
Don’t fall for it. Insurance companies will also try to ask you questions or get recorded statements to trap you into saying something that can be damaging for your case. For this reason, it is important to limit communication with the other insurance company and hire a personal injury attorney as soon as possible. Until you can truly determine the full extent of your vehicle’s damages, and any bodily injuries, you need to limit future communications. You may consider requesting that all future communication is done in writing, or once you have retained an attorney, your attorney will ask that all communications with the adjuster be directed to your attorney.
6. Contact a lawyer
If you’ve been injured in an auto accident, contact us for a free consultation. Car accidents can be a traumatic experience, but if you follow these 6 steps, you’ll be on the road to recovery and putting this all behind you!
The experienced attorneys at Alhasoon, Glidden and Glidden, LLC are here to provide you a free consultation. Contact us today!