What to Do After a Car Accident?

May 8, 2024 | Blog, Car Insurance

After a car accident, stay safe, protect your rights, and ensure you can claim compensation for damages.

However, the complex and chaotic nature of a car crash makes it challenging to know what to do and when to do it, especially when in shock and severely injured.

Though the trauma of a car accident is hard to overcome, following these post-accident tips helps you recover physically, emotionally, and financially. Consult a seasoned car accident attorney near you for legal assistance.



Essential Steps to Take After a Car Accident

Seek Further Medical Attention

Adrenaline and shock can often mask pain and discomfort, so get checked by a doctor to ensure you sustained no underlying or delayed injuries, such as:

Even if you feel fine after the accident, see a doctor. Keep track of all medical records and bills as you need them for insurance claims and potential legal action.

Contact a Car Accident Lawyer

Every state has a complicated set of laws and regulations regarding car accidents, so consult a personal injury attorney who can explain your rights and negotiate with insurance companies.

If, for some reason, your case can’t favorably settle, a lawyer can file a lawsuit and represent you in court. Because of the statute of limitations that states like Colorado, have for filing personal injury lawsuits, act quickly and seek legal help as soon as possible.

Gather Evidence

Gather Evidence after Car Accident

If you hire an attorney after a car accident, they will gather evidence to support your case. This includes obtaining a police report, verifying witness statements, and reconstructing the accident scene.

However, you can assist in the process by keeping track of your own evidence, such as:

  • All medical records and bills
  • Personal photos or videos from the accident scene
  • Any written correspondence from insurance companies or medical providers

Having this evidence organized and readily available can strengthen your case and increase the chances of receiving fair compensation.

Document Pain and Suffering

A key component to receiving full compensation after a car accident is documenting any physical or emotional pain and suffering.

Keep a detailed pain journal of your recovery process that tracks:

Your attorney can use this information to support your case and ensure you receive the appropriate compensation for your suffering.

Forward All Communication to a Car Accident Attorney

You may receive a lot of communication from insurance companies and other parties involved in the accident. It’s essential to forward all this communication to your attorney. This will prevent any misunderstandings or mistakes that could damage your case.

For example, insurance companies may try to get you to sign a settlement agreement quickly, alleging it is the best option. However, in many cases, it may not be enough to cover all current and future damages related to the accident. A personal injury attorney can best assess the settlement and advise you on the best action.

What to Do After Specific Car Accidents

Specific car accidents may require additional considerations. Understanding what kind of accident you have been in can help you prioritize your next steps.

Rear-End Collision

When one vehicle crashes into the back of another it is a rear-end collision. This is the most common type of car accident and often results in whiplash injuries. The key to dealing with a rear-end collision is to exchange information with the other driver and seek medical attention if needed.

If you want to secure any potential damage claim, you’ll need to call the police for an official report and take photos of the accident scene and any damages to your vehicle. If it is safe, only move vehicles out of traffic once photos have been taken.

Side-Impact Collision

Also known as a T-bone collision, this type of accident involves one car crashing into the side of another. These accidents are especially dangerous as the sides of vehicles offer less protection than the front or back.

The severe injuries from these collisions can make it challenging to gather evidence and exchange information. To get all the necessary documentation for insurance claims or a personal injury lawsuit, you’ll need to contact the local police department for a copy of the accident report. These reports typically include photos, witness statements, contact information, and driver details.

Single Vehicle Accident

When negligent road maintenance results in a single-car accident, things can get messy. If you’re the driver of the vehicle that caused an accident due to poor road conditions, such as potholes or malfunctioning traffic lights, then you’ll need to take photos and contact your insurance company immediately.

Hitting a stationary object or animal might constitute a single-vehicle accident. In this case, take photos and gather witness statements or contact information from nearby individuals who may have seen the accident. If a negligent party or external factors caused the crash, you can receive compensation for damages.

Multi-Vehicle Accident

Accidents involving multiple cars are complicated and chaotic. Some states, like Colorado, apply at-fault insurance laws to determine responsibility for damages. Other states use no-fault insurance laws, meaning each driver turns to their insurance company for coverage regardless of who caused the accident.

In either case, the potential liability for severe injuries, extensive property damage, and even fatalities makes photos and videos of your accident scene crucial. Get evidence of your location in the multi-chain of collision, distance from other vehicles, and the contact information for anyone whose car made contact with yours.

Hit and Run Accident

When a driver flees the accident scene without exchanging information or providing aid, it is a hit and run. These accidents are frustrating and frightening. However, they don’t have to leave you with no recourse.

Contact the police immediately and provide any details about the other vehicle, such as a license plate number or physical description. If possible, gather evidence at the scene, including photos of your car and any injuries sustained.

Hit and run accidents are considered especially egregious, particularly in Colorado. Seek the assistance of a qualified attorney who can help you navigate your legal options and recover compensation after a hit and run.

Rollover Accident

Rollover accidents happen when a vehicle flips onto its side or roof. These accidents are particularly dangerous and traumatic, often resulting in serious injuries or even death.

If you are stuck in a vehicle after a rollover accident, it is vital to remain calm and wait for emergency responders to arrive. Once you’ve received medical attention, contact a car accident attorney who can help you gather evidence and potentially pursue compensation for your injuries.

How Do I File an Insurance Claim After a Car Accident?

How Do I File an Insurance Claim After a Car Accident

The best way to file an insurance claim is to let your attorney handle it. Car accidents leave victims feeling tired, stressed, and overwhelmed, making an attorney the best option for meeting filing deadlines and aggressively negotiating with insurance companies.

Though regardless of who files a claim, insurance companies will need the following to process your request:

  • Your contact information and policy number
  • The date, time, and location of the accident
  • A copy of the police report, if one was filed
  • Photos or videos of the accident scene and damages to your vehicle
  • Medical records and bills related to any injuries sustained in the accident

It’s important to be honest and accurate when providing this information. Any discrepancies or false information could potentially harm your claim. Furthermore, errors or discrepancies may cause the insurance company to delay or deny your claim.

Do You Have to Go to Court After a Car Accident?

If the insurance company denies your claim or offers an inadequate settlement, you may need to file a lawsuit to seek fair compensation for your damages. However, many car accident cases are settled outside of court through negotiations.

If your case goes to court, your attorney will represent you and fight for your rights. They will gather evidence, call on witnesses if necessary, and argue your case.

Your attorney will prepare you for the process and ensure you are well informed about your case if you have to testify. A skilled attorney can provide peace of mind, reduce stress, and increase your chances of a successful outcome.

How Much Is a Car Accident Case Worth?

How Much Is a Car Accident Case Worth

It is hard to determine the value of a car accident claim without gathering all necessary evidence.

The value of a car accident case depends on police reports, medical bills, and earning statements, plus:

  • The severity of injuries sustained
  • The cost of medical treatment and ongoing care
  • Lost wages due to missed work or reduced earning capacity
  • Property damage to vehicles and other personal property
  • Pain and suffering endured as a result of the accident
  • Any additional damages or losses incurred, such as emotional distress or loss of enjoyment of life

For example, a t-bone collision often results in traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord damage, and broken bones. These injuries have upfront costs ranging from $25,000 to $1 million.

Add in the cost of paramedic care, medical transport, emergency treatment, and ongoing care, and the value of a car accident case can quickly add up to millions of dollars.

In states like Colorado, your car accident case may increase due to non-economic damages. Non-economic damages include pain and suffering, emotional distress, and loss of enjoyment of life. These damages are not as easily quantifiable but can significantly increase the value of a case.

Additionally, you may receive punitive damages if the at-fault driver acted recklessly or intentionally caused harm. Punitive awards punish the at-fault party and deter similar conduct. Your attorney can determine if punitive damages apply in your case.

By following the proper steps after a car accident, including detailed record keeping and seeking the assistance of a qualified attorney, you can increase your chances of receiving fair compensation for your car accident injuries.

Car Accident FAQs

What do I do after a rideshare accident?

Rideshare accidents are treated like any other car accident, but depending on the circumstances, additional steps may be necessary. Verify that the driver had logged into the rideshare app at the time of the accident. If you are a ridesharing vehicle passenger, note the license plate number and driver’s information and submit a report to the rideshare company, then call a car accident lawyer.

Do I need an attorney if I am in a car accident?

Yes. Insurance companies will often try to minimize payouts or deny claims altogether, and having a skilled attorney on your side can ensure you receive fair compensation for your damages.

What if I was partially at fault for the car accident?

You may recover compensation for your injuries, but your compensation may decrease by the percentage attributed to your actions.

Protect Your Rights and Financial Future After a Car Accident

The effects of a car accident extend far beyond physical injuries. Medical bills, lost earning potential, and property damage can all take a toll on your personal and financial well-being.

By knowing your rights and taking the necessary steps to protect them, you can ensure that you receive fair compensation for your damages and begin to heal after a car accident.

Always seek the assistance of an experienced Colorado personal injury attorney who can handle the legal complexities and fight for your rights while you focus on your recovery.