What Should You Do if You Get Into an Automobile Accident?
You are driving to work, listening to the morning show on your favorite radio station, thinking about what is ahead of you in the workday. Suddenly, the cars in front of you come screeching to a halt. You slam on your brakes, barely avoiding crashing into the back of the car that has stopped in front of you. Unfortunately, the car behind you was not so quick and BANG, they rear end you. What should you do now?
First steps after an auto accident
First, make sure everyone is okay.
Second, assess whether your car can be moved.
Third, get the authorities involved.
Fourth, exchange insurance and license information.
Fifth, document the scene with pictures or video where safe and possible.
Sixth, contact an experienced attorney car accident attorney like Bruntrager and Billings.
You are your priority. Are there any immediate pains? If so, do not move until medical professionals can attend to you. If you feel comfortable, you can check to make sure other people involved are okay, too. Then take a look at your car. If it can be driven, you and anyone else that was involved should move your cars out of the roadway. Call the police from there. They will usually make a report, which can be obtained by you or your insurance company. Keep in mind that these reports are not always correct, so it is always good to recall the events of the auto accident as best you can.
Document the scene as best you can. The conditions of the road, traffic, the damage to either car. You can and should take pictures or videos where possible.
You should also take pictures of the insurance card and the license of the driver of the other vehicle and get a good contact number.
Automobile accidents can often be called “he said, she said” events, where neither party is fully at fault nor willing to admit fault. This does not mean you are not entitled to anything, even if you are partly at fault. Missouri is comparative negligence state. This is a fancy way of saying that even when at fault, you are entitled to insurance proceeds. Furthermore, even if the other party does NOT have insurance, everyone in Missouri is required to carry a minimum of $25,000 in “Uninsured Motorist Coverage.” This means you could be entitled to proceeds from your own insurance.
Things To Avoid
Number one, losing your cool. This is a stressful time for all involved. Keeping a cool head will only make it easier.
Two, do not admit to fault. You can explain what happened to the police but try to avoid admitting to anything. Some people are very nice and find it very hard to not accept responsibility, but you want to avoid having anything unfairly attributed to you and your insurance. As stated above, Missouri is a comparative negligence state, so anything you admit to can potentially reduce the proceeds you are entitled to.
Finally, do not allow yourself to be bullied. If you believe the police need to be contacted, contact the police. If the other party leaves, it is at their own peril. If the police seem reluctant to write a report, continue to ask for one or ask for a supervisor.
Again, your priority needs to be your health and safety. If you do not feel well, ask for EMS. If everyone is okay, see if the cars can be moved. Getting out of the right of way will also help keep you safe. Finally, be patient. Sometimes, we do not experience symptoms of injuries for weeks or months after accidents. Unfortunately, these are often the hardest injuries to deal with as they are the result of soft tissue injuries in the spine and neck. That is where having experienced lawyers on your side will help you get the insurance proceeds you need to make yourself whole again. If you have been in a car accident, contact the experienced automobile accident attorneys at Bruntrager and Billings on our website or by phone at 314-646-0066.