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What to Do If You’ve Been in a Car Accident: A Lawyer’s Perspective

Being in a car accident is scary. Your body floods with adrenaline to prevent your brain from feeling pain. However, this surge of chemicals can leave you feeling shaky. While you may not feel pain, you may feel panicky and make mistakes that can hurt your claim.

What to Do After a Car Accident

Get Your Car Somewhere Safe

The first thing you should do after a motor vehicle accident is to move your vehicle somewhere safe if it is still operable. It doesn't matter if you rear-ended a semi or you were tapped while sitting at a stop sign in your neighborhood. If you leave your vehicle in the road, you are impeding the flow of traffic and putting yourself and your vehicle at risk of further damage.

Call the Police

Once you and your vehicle are safe, call the police. State law requires you to notify law enforcement whenever a motor vehicle accident occurs. This holds true whether you are the only vehicle involved or several vehicles are involved. We recommend that you call the local non-emergency dispatch line and tell them you need law enforcement and medical services.

The non-emergency number for the Kansas City Police Department is (816) 234-5111. However, if you feel there is a medical emergency, you may call 911. You may also call the Missouri State highway patrol at (816) 622-0800.

Take Pictures of the Scene

After a motor vehicle accident, take as many pictures as you can. If the accident occurred in a parking lot, take pictures of the ground. If it happened on a busy highway, make sure you get pictures of the damage to your vehicle, the damage to any other vehicles involved, the license plates of other vehicles involved, and the personal information of other parties.

You will need the auto insurance provider, policy number, address, telephone number, and driver's license number from the other driver or drivers involved. If you forget to get this information immediately after the accident, you can pull this information from the police report.

Take Pictures of Visible Injuries

Besides taking pictures of the scene and damage to vehicles, you should also take pictures of any visible injuries you may have. For example, take pictures of abrasions on your collarbone caused by your seat belt. If you can see any other injuries, such as contusions to your head, knuckles or knees, take pictures of those injuries, as well.

Seek Medical Attention

It's normal to not feel pain after a motor vehicle accident. Your body is flooded with adrenaline that often prevents you from feeling much if any pain. However, once that adrenaline has worn off, you may be in a world of pain and experience a significantly limited range of motion.

Some injuries, such as traumatic brain injuries, can affect you for the rest of your life. However, they may not become evident for months or even a year after a motor vehicle accident. Emergency medical personnel will document your alertness and mental acuity. Details noted in their report can be critical when you're making a claim.

Answer Questions Honestly But Don't Admit Fault

After a motor vehicle accident, don't admit fault and don't apologize. It doesn't matter if you're talking to the police, another party involved in the accident, your insurance company or another party's insurance company. If you admit fault or apologize, you may not get the money you deserve after the accident.

Answering questions honestly is also important after an MVA. If you're not sure how fast you were driving at the time of the accident, communicate that to the police, your insurance company, and the other party's insurance company. Don't say you were going 70 miles per hour at the point of impact when you think you were going between 65 and 70 mph.

Prepare for the Future

While we hope you are never in an MVA in the future, it is best to be prepared for the worst. If you don't have one already, we strongly recommend that you invest in at least one camera for your vehicle. If you can afford to so, invest in one camera for the front of your vehicle and another camera for the rear of your vehicle.

If nothing happens while you're driving, delete the footage so there is plenty of memory on the SD card for when an accident occurs. Nothing proves your innocence as definitively as footage of the wreck. Furthermore, you should try to not leave the house without your cell phone charged and keep a cell phone charger in the car in case of an emergency.

What to Expect When Talking to the Police

For many people, the scariest thing about the immediate aftermath of an automobile accident is not knowing what talking to the police is going to be like. Luckily, talking to the police after a motor vehicle accident isn't scary at all. The police officer will ask to see your driver's license, vehicle registration, and proof of automobile insurance.

Then, he or she will ask you for your side of the story. Again, answer all questions honestly, but don't say anything to incriminate yourself. Be respectful and remain as calm as you can. If the officer doesn't write you a ticket for the accident, make sure you get the incident report. This report will have all the information you need to make a claim.

What to Expect When Talking to Your Car Insurance Provider

When you call your car insurance company, let them know you want to speak with them and an attorney. Your insurance agent should have no problem initiating a three-way call among herself, you, and an auto accident expert from Sullivan Law. Once again, remember to answer all questions honestly without incriminating yourself.

Your auto insurance representative will ask you questions about the events leading up to the accident, such as your speed, whether you were distracted while driving, the condition of the road, the visibility, and the behavior of the other party involved. As with talking to the police, be polite and remain as calm as possible.

What to Expect When Talking to the Other Party's Car Insurance Provider

Talking to the other party's car insurance provider will be just like talking to your car insurance provider. You should ask to have your attorney join the call with you. Then, you should answer all questions politely without trying to blame anyone. Just tell your side of the story.

The primary difference between speaking with your auto insurance provider and the other party's auto insurance provider will be the length of the call. Once your representative has your side of the story, she will schedule an appointment with an adjuster to assess the current value of the vehicle. Furthermore, she will recommend a mechanic to give you a quote for repairs.

Contact Sullivan Law Today

If you've been in a car accident, make sure you and your vehicle are safe. Then, call the police, take as many pictures as you can and get the contact information of the other party. Once you get to your destination, call Sullivan Law at (800) 487-8066 for a free consultation. Our experts will help you get the money you deserve.