We should all know what to do immediately after a car crash. We like to think it won’t involve us, but collisions happen daily, so it is best to be prepared.
Assess the Situation
Immediately after impact assess yourself, passengers and surroundings. If you are hurt and can safely stay in the vehicle – do so. Let emergency responders decide how you should be moved. If you are able and it is safe, move well off the roadway. Do not stand between or along side of cars stopped on the road or shoulder.
Call 911 immediately. Do this even if you are unsure about it. Even if there are no apparent injuries and the cars can be moved, still call 911, except in the most minor collisions. Let the authorities decide if the police should be called; the police are supposed to make a report of any crash where the damages exceed $1,000.00.
Be Cautious Accepting Fault
Never lie about what happened, but if you think you share some fault, you are not required to admit that at the scene. Cooperate with police, but you are not required to admit guilt to a crime — even a traffic offense. We do not encourage you to duck responsibility but give it some time and get some advice before saying much.
Get Information and Document the Scene
Be sure to get the other driver’s name, contact detail, and insurance card. If you can do so safely, photograph the scene and the other driver’s documents. Get the names and phone numbers of witnesses — do not assume the police will record all witness names.
Get Medical Treatment
If you feel at all unwell, or are not sure, get medical treatment soon. In Minnesota, your own auto insurer will pay for an ambulance and all medical care, with no co-pays to you, up to $20,000.00. Take photos of bruising, lacerations, cuts, and other injuries.
Contact An Attorney Soon
At Klampe Law Firm there is no charge to talk to an attorney after a car crash. If you or a loved one is injured, it is important to get an attorney on your side soon. Nearly always, we represent injured clients on a contingency fee basis, meaning there is no legal fee unless and until we make a financial recovery for you. The fee is typically one-third of the amount recovered, so it costs the same to get an attorney involved early, and it usually helps you get a better outcome, both medically and financially.
We encourage you to print off the linked checklist to keep in your car along with your insurance card. Most people are rattled after a crash. A checklist helps you follow the procedures that would be more obvious in calmer circumstances.
AUTO COLLISION CHECKLIST
- Call 911. Do this in all but the most minor collisions.
- If injured, stay in the vehicle if you can do so safely.
- Do not let injured people move around.
- Don’t stand on the roadway or between cars.
- Get names and contact details of other drivers and witnesses.
- Take photos of the scene, insurance cards, and drivers’ licenses.
- Do not assume the police will identify all witnesses – get that information yourself.
- Get medical attention if you are hurt or unsure.
- Make note of what the other driver says at the scene, especially if they accept fault or apologize.
- Even if you believe the collision is all or partly your fault, it is best not to acknowledge fault at the scene. Call your insurer to get advice first.
- Call an attorney early in injury cases.
Klampe Law Firm
975 34th Avenue NW, Suite 400
Rochester, MN 55901