Steps to Take After a Car Accident

Michigan car accident lawyerNo one expects to be in a car accident. When it happens, most people experience shock which can cloud their judgment. But there are steps you should take immediately following a collision.

They can have a significant impact on your physical recovery and your ability to pursue a claim against the at-fault driver or his insurance company. If you find yourself in this situation, you should consider taking the following steps.

Immediately After the Accident

1. Check on everyone and call for help

Check on everyone involved in the accident and then call 911. The police will come and investigate. When they’re finished, they should give you an incident number, which you can later use to request a copy of the police report.

2. Gather information

Take your own pictures of your vehicle, other vehicles involved, and the scene of the accident. Unfortunately, not all police officers are trained in accident reconstruction. This means they don’t always take photographs or obtain measurements. You should document the physical damage of all cars involved and any skid marks on the road. Your pictures may be useful to an accident reconstructionist hired by your car accident attorney. If there are witnesses, ask for their names and telephone numbers. Then exchange insurance information with the other drivers.

3. The problem with apologizing

It’s human nature to want to apologize, even for things that aren’t our fault. But saying “I’m sorry” before an investigation is complete can hurt your claim. You should let the police investigate to determine who caused the accident before you say, “I’m sorry.” Insurance companies often mischaracterize this expression of sympathy as an admission of guilt.

Addressing Your Injuries After the Crash

After the investigation is complete, there are additional steps you should take.

1. Notify your insurance company

Contact your insurance agent to report the accident. If you don’t have an insurance agent, contact your insurance company directly.  Avoid signing anything or releasing your rights until you’ve contacted your lawyer.

2. Jot down what you recall about the accident

While your memory is still fresh, write down what you remember about the accident. What was happening before the impact? What happened immediately after? What direction were the cars traveling? What did you notice, and when?

3. Follow doctor’s orders

Make sure to follow the advice of your doctors. That includes following up with other specialists referred by your primary care physician.  Attend physical therapy as directed, complete home exercises to help you recover, and don’t miss any follow up appointments.

4. Keep records

Keep a log of the medical providers that you see, your medications (including the dosage), appointments, and notes about each appointment. Take pictures of your injuries immediately after the accident and again as they begin to heal. Make notes about anything that you can’t do that you used to do before the accident, such as playing sports, or holding your children or grandchildren.

5. Hire a car accident lawyer in Michigan

There are time limits to file a car accident claim under Michigan law.  Typically, you have three years after the accident to file a lawsuit against the at-fault driver, but this may differ depending on the facts and circumstances involved. Regardless of the type of accident, don’t wait to call a Michigan car accident attorney to discuss your options.