Unless you’ve been in one before, car accidents might seem like something that just happens to other people. Unfortunately for you, your chances of remaining accident-free are slim: Most drivers will end up in three to four car accidents during their lifetime.
In the event that you do find yourself involved in a car accident, it’s important to know what to do. Here are some of the basics of what to do if you’ve been in a car accident:
Being in a car accident can release feelings of panic and stress. Take a deep breath and assess the situation before doing much else.
First thing you need to do is stop your car (pull over to a safe area if possible) and get out, if you can.
Make sure you stay aware of the situation around you—pay attention to traffic and look for fire or any other immediate dangers.
Check on the other people involved in the accident. If anyone is injured, call 911 so help can get there as soon as possible.
Be sure to exchange information with the other parties involved in the accident. The most important pieces of information to collect (and to give in return) include the following:
- Phone number
- Make and model of vehicles involved
- License plate numbers
- Insurance carrier and policy number
If there are any witnesses, it’s also generally helpful to obtain their basic contact information as well in case testimonies are needed later.
In the instance that the accident has involved an unattended vehicle, do your best to try to find the vehicle’s owner or driver to exchange information. If this proves impossible, you should leave a note with your name, your contact information, and a brief description of the accident.
Report the accident.
In most cases, you’ll want to call the police to the scene of the accident. If no one has been injured and 911 has not been called, a call to your local law enforcement station should be sufficient.
Even if you are in a significant time crunch, stay at the scene of the accident until the police arrive.
Having the police come to the scene serves a number of purposes. They will document the scene and also act as an unbiased third party in court or insurance claims later. (This is helpful even if the accident seems minor at the time.) They will also fill out an accident report, saving you the paperwork as Colorado law requires an accident report be filed.
Document the accident.
Take as many pictures from as many angles as you can to capture the various details of the accident. Even if law enforcement takes photographs of the accident, it can still be helpful to have copies for your records in case they are needed later for insurance or other purposes.
As soon as possible after the accident, write a detailed account of what transpired just before, during, and after the accident. While we like to think we’ll remember all the details of this potentially traumatic event, details fade and memories fail. The sooner you can come up with your written report, the better and more accurate picture you’ll portray.
It’s particularly important to note various details about the accident and the circumstances surrounding it. Some of these include:
- The speed of involved vehicles
- If any signals or lights were used by either party
- Road and weather conditions
Additional steps to take after the accident:
- Notify your insurance company
- Consider going to the doctor
- Consider hiring a personal injury lawyer
At Bachus & Schanker we have the team of personal injury lawyers Colorado drivers need to get the job done. If you were involved in an accident, contact our car accident attorneys to determine whether hiring a personal injury attorney is the right move for you.