Everyone knows of the dangers of motor vehicle transport, especially with the variable weather conditions here in Colorado. Even if you are the safest driver on the Colorado roads you are still at the mercy of other drivers who may occasionally be reckless or inconsiderate. We all see them out there!
After a Colorado car accident or auto accident of any kind, it is natural to feel overwhelmed by what has happened and unsure of what you should do next. There are certain things you can do following an accident that will help to improve your chances of recovering maximum compensation for your injuries. At Weselis & Suchoparek, LLC, we recommend all clients take the following steps after a car accident has occurred in Colorado:
If your car is involved in an accident and you don’t stop, you may be subject to criminal prosecution under Colorado law. Leave your car as close as possible to the place of impact without obstructing traffic. After stopping, remain at the scene of the accident to aid the injured, protect the scene, report to the police and gather information.
If someone is injured, give first aid if you are qualified and call for an ambulance. Remember to note the location of the accident before you call for an ambulance. Tell the ambulance dispatcher the name and number of the street as well as the direction in which the cars were traveling at the time of the accident.
Protect the scene of the accident to avoid additional collisions. Do not allow your car to obstruct the road if it can be moved. Warn approaching cars by raising the hood of your car and using the car’s hazard warning lights. In addition, for nighttime accidents, place flares or reflectors on the road. If you have a camera or cell phone, take as many pictures as you can. Write down anything the at-fault party says or anything a witness claims the at-fault party said.
Call the police, particularly if someone has been injured. A police report of the accident will help your insurance claim and any liability claims. Ask the officer how to get a copy of the accident report and note the officer’s name and badge number. If you receive a traffic ticket, it does not mean you are guilty of a traffic offense or that you are responsible for the accident. Be aware that you may hurt your claim for damages from the other driver if you plead guilty. Consult your lawyer and insurance agent before pleading guilty to any traffic offense.
Exchange information with the driver of the other car. You should get the following information:
• Other drivers- name, address, phone number, driver’s license number, name of the insurance company and policy number.
• Passengers- name, address and phone number.
• Witnesses- name, address, and phone number.
• Owner (if not the driver)- name, address, phone number, insurance company and policy number.
Make notes about the time of day, weather conditions, road conditions, street lights, and length of skid marks. Also make a diagram of the accident, the location of the vehicles, crosswalks, stop signs and traffic signals. If you hit a parked car and can’t find the owner, leave a note with your name, address, and summary of the accident. The sooner you do this the better because over time the small details of the accident will be lost.
When you exchange information with the other driver and give facts to the police, don’t admit responsibility for the accident. Things that you say can be used against you if there is litigation. You may think that you were responsible for the accident and later learn that the other driver caused it or that the other driver was equally at fault. Again, do not admit fault!
Before you allow a tow truck driver to pick up your car, be sure to ask the driver how much it will cost and tell the driver where to take your car. Get the name, address, and telephone number of the driver and the towing company.
Both you and your passengers should consider seeing a local Colorado doctor after an accident. The doctor may recognize injuries, sometimes serious, that are not apparent to you. The charges for a doctor visit and medical treatment may be covered by your insurance. Don’t settle claims from the accident until your doctor has advised you about the extent of your injuries.
Call your Colorado insurance agent as soon as possible after the accident. Your insurance company may have grounds to deny coverage if you fail to give prompt notice of the accident. Follow up on the phone call with a written notice and save a copy for your files. Mail it certified to play it safe. The written notice should contain information about the date, time and place of the accident, with names and addresses of the other drivers, injured persons, passengers, and witnesses. If you were at fault, your liability insurance should pay for any damages or property damages. If the other driver is at fault but does not have insurance, your insurance may pay for damages to your car (collision coverage), your medical expenses (medical payment coverage), and even for your pain and suffering (if you have uninsured motorist coverage)
Beware of pushy insurance adjusters. An insurance adjuster from the at-fault party’s insurance company will investigate the claim. He or she may review the police report, interview witnesses, and speak with the other driver or drivers involved. You do not have to give an interview to this person, regardless of what he or she may tell you. Also, do not sign anything you are unsure about. You could sign a document that waives your right to file a claim in the future.
Keep a journal. Keep notes about your injuries, medical treatment, rental car expenses, canceled checks, or anything else that involves the accident. You may need to recall details of the case if your case goes to litigation. Keeping a journal can help you remember those details.
Keep receipts and maintain a list of expenses. Keep a list of all out-of-pocket expenses associated with the accident. Even hiring a house cleaner because you cannot clean your house by yourself counts as an accident-related expense. It is good to keep receipts for things like prescription medication and rental car expenses as well.
Calling Your Colorado Lawyer
If you are considering a lawsuit, or expect one to be brought against you, or you have received a traffic ticket, your Colorado lawyer can advise you about your rights and responsibilities. The sooner you call your lawyer the better since witnesses may forget the details of the accident. Your lawyer can counsel you on how to respond to questions from Colorado insurance adjusters and help you recover compensation for your personal injuries and damages to your car all at no upfront cost. Remember, the statics show a much higher recovery for those represented by Colorado personal injury attorneys.
Call for a free consultation if you are looking for a Denver car accident attorneys or Lawyers in Colorado. We offer services throughout the State of Colorado including all Front Range and Western Slope cities such as car accident injuries in Aurora, motorcycle accidents in Arvada, boating accidents in Littleton, semi-truck crashes in Thornton, big rig collisions in Westminster, dog bite accidents in Brighton, Highway Accidents in Boulder, car wrecks in Castle Rock, legal malpractice injuries in Colorado Springs, bike accidents in Fort Collins, pedestrian crashes in Grand Junction, running or jogging injuries in Pueblo, ski injury Accidents in Greeley, snowboarding injuries in Castle Rock, skiing accident in Monument, and car crashes in Longmont. We also represent clients in Denver County Car Accidents in, Arapahoe County motorcycle accident, Adams County wrongful death accident, Douglas County semi-truck accident, Boulder County boat accident Jefferson County personal injuries, and El Paso County car injury law and all other Colorado Car Accidents.