What should I do if I’m in a car accident?
It’s safe to say that being in a car accident is an experience none of us ever want to have to go through. Car crashes can lead to injuries, extensive car repairs (if not completely totaling a car), and serious mental trauma for everyone involved. They could potentially force you to miss work, forego hobbies, and otherwise spend long amounts of time dealing with the aftermath of your accident.
However, as much as we’d like our roads to be safe, car accidents occur every day all around St. Louis. If you ever are in a car wreck, there are certain things you should do as soon as possible to ensure you do not run into any obstacles further down the road. Feel free to contact the experienced attorneys at Combs Law Group if you have any further questions after you get into a St. Louis car accident.
- Call The Police – Regardless of the severity of the accident or if anyone is injured, the first number you should dial is always 911. Police will arrive at the scene, ask you and the other parties involved in the accident some questions, and potentially interview witnesses. They will then write up an official report. You should hold onto this report as it will be crucial to your case and the first thing you should present to your car accident lawyer.
- Get All Information Possible – Getting data and evidence is crucial to establishing who was at fault in your car accident and maximizing the potential payout you could get from the other driver and the insurance companies. Take photos or videos of the scene of the accident, the other driver’s personal details, and their insurance information. Consider using your phone’s voice recorder app to take down everything you and others at the scene of the accident say. If there are witnesses, get their contact information and document anything they say. Always get a copy of the police report and document the license plates and VIN numbers of every car involved.
- Call Both Insurance Companies – You are required to notify both your insurance company, and the insurance company of any other drivers involved, after you were in a car accident. When you call the other driver’s company, they will ask you for the name, policy number, driver’s license number, and potentially make and model of car they were driving. Many people worry that telling their own insurance company about an accident, even if it was not their fault, their rates will automatically increase. This is not the case: while your rates may change after you officially file a claim, simply telling your insurer that you’ve been in a car wreck does not affect your coverage. You may even be required to notify your insurance company that you have been in an accident–otherwise, they could potentially deny your accident claim. Plus, depending on your coverage, your insurance company can get right to work at getting you repairs or a rental car while yours is unavailable.
- Watch What You Say – Never admit any sort of fault or liability to the other driver, not even an apology. When a police officer asks you for your account of the accident, answer them truthfully. We recommend writing down the course of events that led to your car accident so you can get your story straight. When you talk to the insurance companies (both yours and the other driver’s), do not give extensive information about your accident, injuries, or other insurance claims. Remember: anything you say can be used against you, so it is important you do not harm your case before you even begin to consider going to court.
- Go To A Doctor – Even with modern safety systems and cars being built stronger than ever before, car accidents often can leave those who were involved nursing some painful injuries. If you are hurt, do not hesitate to visit either the emergency room or an urgent care center. Injuries that may seem minor at first could potentially become a major issue for you down the line. If you suffer, for instance, a sprained wrist from the sudden impact of your crash, what may seem a nuisance may prevent you from working for several weeks if your job requires you to use a computer, as you could find it too painful to type. Make sure to get fully evaluated for your injuries, including X-rays, MRIs, or other necessary scans.
- Call A Qualified Car Accident Lawyer – Calling a St. Louis personal injury lawyer with experience handling car accident cases, such as Combs Law Group, can help you avoid pitfalls during your claims process. They can communicate with insurance companies and the police, which takes any worry you will say the wrong thing out of your hands. Insurers do not like paying claims and will try any and all methods to avoid doing so. An experienced car accident attorney will submit all the necessary forms, make sure that all processes are being done quickly, and fiercly advocate on your behalf, so you can focus on recovering from your accident and not litigating it.
Most car accident lawyers in St. Louis offer free consultations and case reviews, and we urge you to talk to several because every lawyer has their own style, which may or may not be the one you’d prefer. Combs Law Group is proud to offer free conversations about your case, and we invite you to call us at (314) 900-HELP or contact us online to schedule a chat today.