What Should You Do After a Car Accident?
Being involved in a car accident can be scary, and in some cases, life-changing. When we are faced with traumatic situations, naturally, we tend to do things out of order or forget to do them at all.
Knowing what to do before an accident can help you be better prepared “just in case.”
Whether you are a frequent driver or passenger, here are some post-accident tips:
- Stay calm. Panicking won’t help anyone. Take a breath, check yourself for injuries or pain and check on your passengers.
- Stay safe. If your car isn’t in any more danger, leave it where it is. The police will want to see exactly what happened. If you’re in the flow of traffic and could be hit again, move your vehicle.
- Call 911. If emergency medical services are needed for anyone involved, make sure help is on the way. Call the police as well, especially for anything more than a tiny fender-bender. They’ll gather information and make a report.
- Call your insurer. Let them know what happened and get the claims process started.
- Gather evidence. Take photos of the scene and your car (and yourself, if you’re injured). Take cell phone video. Write down every detail you can remember. Exchange contact and insurance information with the other driver. If there were any witnesses, get their names and contact information as well.
Here’s an important tip to remember when dealing with the other driver: do NOT admit fault. It is up to the insurance companies and police reports to determine who’s at fault. Apologizing or admitting any wrongdoings could potentially harm you in the long run. Be careful about talking with the other driver’s insurance company, too. They are often only interested in developing evidence that will be harmful to you. It is often best to talk to a lawyer before you speak to the other insurance company’s trained investigators.
File a Driver’s Motor Vehicle Accident Report
In Omaha, any collision involving injury, death, or damage of over $1,000 to property requires the parties involved to fill out the Driver’s Motor Vehicle Accident Report, form DR41. It must be mailed to the Department of Transportation (formerly Department of Roads) within 10 days of the accident. You can get it at any police station in the area or go to https://police.cityofomaha.org to download the form. Or just grab it right here.
Speak to a Lawyer
Questions? Need help? The aftermath of being involved in a car accident can be stressful. The legal team at Bottlinger Law L.L.C. works hard to make the process less painful. Contact our office at (402) 505-8234 for a free consultation.