There are more than 160,000 car accidents in Kentucky per year. Put another way, 1 in 25 Kentucky residents suffer car crash-related injuries each year. If you ever find yourself in that scenario, you must recognize the steps to take after a car accident.
Check for Injuries
Once the vehicle comes to a complete stop, and you have a moment to compose yourself, the first thing you should do is check for injuries. Make sure you’re not in immediate danger. Identify sources of pain and check if you have lacerations, penetrating injuries, or bleeding.
If you experienced an injury that impairs your ability to move or if you are seriously bleeding after the crash, call for an ambulance. Having trained professionals on the scene can ensure you get the care you need and can decrease the likelihood of causing additional damage.
Check on the Other Driver
If your injuries are not immediately apparent, you should check on the other driver. If they are seriously hurt or incapacitated, you should call for emergency services as soon as possible. If nobody is seriously injured, you should still call the police non-emergency number to file a police report.
While talking to the other driver, remember that they might be looking for an admission of fault, even if it seems they are liable. Don’t apologize. Don’t explain yourself. Only comment on the accident as it happened.
Call for Help
After checking for injuries, you should call for police assistance. In Kentucky, you must file a “Civilian Traffic Collision Report” with the state police if there’s more than $500 in property damage or if someone was hurt or killed in the accident. Calling from the scene helps police document the story while it’s fresh and allows them to consult witnesses.
You have ten days from the time of the accident. It is important to file this report as it creates a trail of evidence and testimony for your attorney and the insurance companies.
Don’t leave the scene until you’ve traded insurance information with the other driver. Make sure you collect their name, home address, phone number, insurance company, policy number, driver’s license number, and license plate number.
Once you’ve collected the information, use your phone to take pictures of the scene. You want to get a picture of the vehicle damage, the license plate of the other vehicle, a wide shot of both vehicles, and an even wider shot showing the surrounding scene. These photos, combined with the police report, will provide critical evidence that will help your attorney negotiate for your settlement.
Make Phone Calls
Once you’ve left the scene, you should inform your insurance company about the accident. If they request a recorded statement about the incident, politely refuse. You have no obligation to provide a statement, and the insurance companies might use your words against you to reduce your settlement, even if you weren’t at fault.
As soon as you’ve reported the accident, contact an auto injury attorney. Hiring an attorney makes all the difference after a car accident. They’ll listen to your case, negotiate with the insurance companies, and handle the complicated paperwork while you rest and recover from your injuries. While you might hesitate to contact an attorney, you should know that injured persons who hire an attorney generally receive a higher settlement than those who leave matters to their insurance company.If you or someone you love suffered serious injuries in an auto accident, you might have a case. If you’d like an experienced Louisville auto injury attorney from Justice Law Firm to evaluate your case, give us a call at (502) 822-2230 or send us an email.