10 Steps You Must Take Immediately After A Car Accident.
In the last year of data provided by Missouri Highway Patrol 34,028 people were killed and 103,370 personal property was damaged in motor vehicle accidents.
Unfortunately, car accidents are so common almost all of us will be involved in at least one or more.
That's why everyone needs to know the information below before it happens. [ Share this page with your friends]
Involved In A Car Accident In St. Louis?
Ten Things To Do When You're In A Car Accident
- Get To Safety. Then Take Pictures.
- Call The Police Immediately From The Scene Of The Accident.
- Gather Witness Names And Phone Numbers
- Get The Other Drivers Information And More Photographs.
- Collect Statements By Other Driver At The Scene.
- Go To The Hospital Or Doctor To Document Your Injuries ASAP And Take Photographs Of Them.
- Call Krupp Law Firm
- Don't Give A Recorded Statement To The Insurance Company Without A Lawyer Present.
- What Types Of Car Insurance Should I Have?
- Settlement Vs. Lawsuit.
What To Do When You’re In A Car Accident.
There are some things that even very intelligent and highly educated people who are in a car accident do not realize they should do.
Below are 10 helpful tips which will be especially helpful as you may be in a state of surprise or shock at the scene of the accident and are likely to miss one or more important steps:
1. Get to Safety. Then take Pictures.
Naturally, many car accidents happen on busy roadways or highways. You may be in pain, or shock, but if it is at all possible you must get to safety as soon as possible to avoid receiving more injuries and putting your life at risk.
As soon as the collision takes place and you gather your wits about you, get your cell-phone out and start taking pictures!
Take a picture of the other driver’s car immediately as the other driver who hit you may leave the scene. Yes, this happens every day! It has even happened with our clients, so we know how important it is to act immediately to get photographs.
What photos should you take?
While you’re still in your car or as soon as you can get out of your car, take pictures of the other driver’s vehicle. Those photos must include the license plate of the vehicle. Get a photo immediately of the other driver and any of their passengers so we can identify them later. Preferably this photo would have the other driver of the vehicle and the vehicle with the license plate number showing in the same photo. In the event the driver takes off, you have all the information you need to then call the police. If you’re not physically in condition to take the pictures, ask someone to do it for you.
2. Call the Police Immediately From the Scene of the Accident.
Immediately after taking the photos of the vehicle and driver, call the police department. If you don’t call the police there won't be a police report on the accident which is usually a bad thing. When other drivers crash into you, they’re also in a temporary state of confusion and they’re more likely, to tell the truth about the accident at the time and scene of the accident.
If the car accident is the other driver’s fault, they almost always admit to it at the scene upon the police arriving and asking them their version of events.
Once they leave the scene of the accident, many times they start thinking of ways that it must have been totally or partially your fault. Then they’ll tell their own insurance company that it was your fault and not theirs. This can cause you a lot of grief in getting compensated for your car damages and personal injuries later from their insurance company. People don’t always tell the truth.
If you call the police after the car accident and the officer writes in his or her report that the other driver admitted fault, there is no doubt about it later. Insist that the officer make a police report of the accident so that later there won’t be any issues about whose fault the car accident was.
3. Gather Witness Names and Phone Numbers.
Ideally the police will gather surrounding information and witness statements. Nevertheless, sometimes the police do not perform a complete and thorough investigation.
Independent witnesses to a car accident are very important!
Unfortunately, sometimes people don’t stop to help other people in need because they don’t want to get involved or be inconvenienced. Still, some caring people are willing to help you and do in fact help by making statements.
You need to ask bystanders or witnesses to help you. When you are at the scene of the accident some folks unrelated to anyone involved int eh accident will stop and come over to the scene and ask if you are alright and need any help. In our experience most people don’t know what to do at this stage. Simply hand them your cell phone and have them put their name and phone number into it at the scene. This just takes a few seconds and they’re usually agreeable to doing so. Once they leave the scene of the accident and you don’t have their name and phone number, they will be gone forever.
Again, the police many times don’t take the time to get those witnesses and put their information on the police report as it is not the officer’s priority at the time.
You may even point this person out to the police officer so that the officer will then get their contact information as well and be more likely to put it into the police report. Many times, we’ve had clients that are shocked upon seeing the police report that the witness who was at the scene is not listed in the report.
If the other driver decides later to recant their initial admission of fault at the scene of the car accident, an independent witness version of the accident is immensely valuable to your case and insurance claim.
When the other driver’s own insurance company gets a copy of the police report and sees that the independent witness says it was the other driver’s fault, their insurance company will be more likely to accept liability on behalf of their insured driver and pay for your damages and injuries (medical bills).
Of course, the accident is important to you and your life situation, but it is just another claim to the insurance company and they have to take the side of their insured unless there is clear evidence to the contrary. Get the independent witness confirmation and you won’t be sorry later.
4. Get the Other Driver’s Information and More Photographs.
We will need important evidence of the damage done to both vehicles at a later date.
Take pictures of the other driver’s vehicle at the scene of the accident.
Once the other driver’s vehicle leaves the scene of the car accident it is hard to find it to get photographs of it. Now that we have cell phones in our hands all the time, it makes it easy to just take photographs of both sides of the vehicle as well as the front and back. The photos should show the whole sides and front and back of the vehicle and not just a close of the dents. In a car accident case, a picture is worth a thousand words.
Next, get the other driver’s identification information and car insurance information by simply taking a picture or writing it down.
Later take photographs of your vehicle too as they are also important! Similarly, take photographs of the whole front and back and both sides of your vehicle. You or someone on your behalf may have to go to the tow lot or salvage yard or repair shop to take these vehicle photos, and it is important to get them within a few days of the accident before any repairs or changes have been made to your damaged vehicle.
5. Collect Statements by Other Driver at the Scene.
If the other driver makes a statement to you or you hear them tell the officer or another passenger in their car how the accident happened and what caused them to hit you, take note of it and remember it as it is important to your claim and case. The other driver might say to one of their passengers, “I told you not to be texting while you were driving”. Obviously, this would be important to show their fault in the accident.
6. Go to the Hospital or Doctor to Document your injuries ASAP and take photographs of them.
By getting medical treatment immediately you are protecting yourself and your interests. The insurance company absolutely will use it against you if you do not get immediate documentation of all your injuries incurred in the accident by a medical care provider immediately that day or within 24 hours of the accident. Yes, the insurance company and their trained lawyers will use it against you every time. How do we know? Personal Injury Jim Krupp began his legal career working for a law firm who represented the car accident insurance companies against the people who were injured in an accident. He has seen from the inside how the insurance companies defend their insured and use every angle possible to get you the compensation you deserve in your car accident case.
Get your injuries documented immediately.
When you go to the hospital or doctor, tell them every pain or injury you are feeling at the time as you never know which one of them will be your biggest problem in the future. It is very important to describe every one of your injuries to the medical personnel because as part of their job duties they will write the injuries down into your medical records for future reference and for all to see.
For example, if you go to the hospital after a car accident and your biggest pain at the time is in your neck from whiplash, the lesser pain in your foot might not seem important since your neck hurts so badly.
If you don’t tell the medical care providers at the hospital about the pain in your foot from jamming it against the floorboard or stomping it on the brake and it turns out later there is a fracture in your foot, the insurance company and their lawyers will say that the foot fracture must have occurred from something else you did at a later date because you did not complain about it initially at the hospital or doctor’s office on the day of the car accident.
Take photographs of your scrapes and bruises that show up within the first few days after an accident as they’ll soon go away and the evidence of them is gone forever.
Remember, a picture is worth a thousand words. When we make a claim with the insurance company or end up filing a lawsuit and present your case to a jury, these photos of your injuries will increase the monetary value of your case. It is simply show and tell for the jury and showing the pictures combined with your testimony about your injury makes it easy for jurors and insurance claims adjusters to understand the pain and problems you’ve been suffering from as a result of the other driver’s negligence.
If you need to call James or Ryan at Krupp Law Firm from the scene feel free to do it.
Or call the St. Louis car accident lawyers at Krupp Law Firm when you get home or as soon as you have an opportunity so we can begin representing you and guiding you through the process. We’ve done it hundreds of times so let us help you.
8. Don’t Give a Recorded Statement to the Insurance Company Without a Lawyer Present.
One of the important parts of the job of an insurance company adjuster or representative is to get a recorded or written statement from you as soon as they can after the accident. This usually happens by phone calls from your insurance company as well as one from the other driver’s insurance company.
You should not give them a statement unless you have a lawyer such as a St. Louis car accident lawyer from the Krupp Law Firm.
You are at a great disadvantage without a lawyer present because the insurance professionals do this job every day. They know how to trick you into saying something that will come back to haunt you later, and they’ll have it recorded. Insurance company representatives know how to get you to say something in a way that they and their attorneys can use against you at a later date. Telling the truth is important, and there are ways to phrase it that can’t be used against you.
Hire the Krupp Law Firm as soon as possible after a car accident, and we will protect and help you get reimbursed for your losses and fully compensated for your injuries. If you already gave a statement to the insurance company, we can still help you as we know what to do and how to handle every situation from our years of experience.
9. What Types of Car Insurance Should I have?
Your insurance agent should explain to you the options you have available for car insurance coverage so that you can make an informed decision of what specific coverage's you’d like to purchase from the insurance company. This is really very simple, but in our experience, it appears that it is not always done well enough to help you to understand your options.
After you’re in a car accident, it is too late for that situation, so you need to do it ahead of time with your insurance agent. When most people purchase car insurance, they’re thinking about how much it will cost as opposed to what coverage's are important and necessary to cover yourself and your loved ones as well as possibly others in a liability situation.
When you buy car insurance you should first of all be thinking of covering yourself and your family, and secondarily about covering the damages that may be incurred by other drivers if you are in an accident.
For example, what if you are in a car accident and the other driver only has the legally required Missouri minimum amount of liability coverage ($25,000) related to the injuries you incur in the accident and your injuries greatly exceeded more than $25,000. It could be devastating to you and your family.
Do you know that there is a way that you can cover yourself and family members so they will be fairly compensated for their injuries if this unfortunate situation arises? It is called Underinsured Motorist Coverage, and you can purchase it on your own car insurance policy usually for an insignificant charge.
The same concept applies to Uninsured Motorist Coverage as you may be hit by a person who does not have any car insurance at all. Uninsured motorist cases happen all the time. You can cover yourself and your family members by purchasing more than the minimum of uninsured motorist liability limits on your insurance policy. If you are hit by an uninsured motorist, we can help get you an insurance recovery to fully compensate you and your family members or friends riding with you.
10. Settlement vs. Lawsuit
At Krupp Law Firm we believe that good communication with our clients is of the utmost importance, so we do our best to keep you apprised of the progress of your case and claim.
As your lawyer, we do everything we can to get you a settlement of your claim without having to file a lawsuit in court to get you compensated.
Sometimes the other driver’s insurance company wants to sell you short on your recovery. To them, it is not personal, and you are just another claim number. To you, it is as personal as it gets.
Missouri Statute Of Limitations For Car Accidents
Statutes of limitation for car accident cases in Missouri are provided in Missouri Revised Statutes § 516.120.
Missouri law provides an ample amount of time to file actions regarding car accidents. The law allows up to 5 years to file a claim. Our recommendation is don't wait to call the Krupp Law Firm right away if you have been involved in a car accident.
Common Varieties of Motor Vehicle Accidents
Rear End Collision
Rear End collisions are a common occurrence due to distracted driving. Texting, eating or just being tired can lead to a rear end collision. These types of accidents commonly occur at stop signs and traffic lights.
Low Impact Collision
Low impact collision is when a car collides with another car or an object at a low speed, typically under 15 mph. A low impact collision is typically referred to as a fender bender. Some examples of low impact collisions include:
- Bumping the car in front of you during heavy traffic.
- Side-swiping a parked vehicle, guard rail, or other object.
- Reversing into a car while leaving a parking spot.
Frontal or Head-On Crashes
A head-on collision (also called a “frontal” crash) is when vehicles moving from opposite directions collide front to front. Many car accidents cause injury but statistics prove head on crashes are more likely to result in serious injuries or fatalities.
Intersection or T-Bone Accidents
Intersection or T-Bone accidents are also called side impact collisions. These accidents typically happen when one vehicle does not stop at a stop sign, stop for a red light or fails to yield the right of way. The collision happens when the vehicle that has the right of way can not slow down and impacts another vehicle in the side.
It is possible that the vehicle at fault cuts off the driver and forces another into an accident.
Multiple Vehicle Collisions
A multiple vehicle collision also known as a multi-car collision and multi-vehicle collision are car accidents including many vehicles. These accidents commonly occur on highways and freeways in poor weather conditions while vehicles are following too closely to one another. Multi-car accidents are also common at high speed and can be very dangerous.
Vehicle rollover car accidents are typically the most dangerous type of car accident often resulting in fatality.
Vehicle rollovers are when the car, truck, or SUV tips on its side or top.
Car Accident Circumstances
The latest Missouri State Highway Patrol breaks down car crashes by circumstance in 2014 including:
- 22,474 Speed involved
- 5,976 Alcohol Involved (including drunk driving)
- 32,763 Young Driver Involved
- 42,747 Older Driver Involved
- 12,082 Commercial Vehicle Involved
- 2,253 Motorcycle Involved