If you’ve been injured in a car accident in Pocatello or a surrounding area in Idaho, one of the first things you should do after getting medical attention is to call Litster Frost. Our car accident team has the experience to help ensure you have a strong case and knows how to help you through the process of recovering.
Idaho Car Accidents
Idahoans are no strangers to car accidents. Even though this is a mostly rural state, there are regular accidents on HWY’s 15, 20, in addition to accidents in city limits and on the country roads throughout the county.
Idaho has roughly 23,000 crashes every year. In 2015 alone, car accidents claimed the lives of 216 victims in Idaho.
The costs associated with a single car crash can easily surpass tens of thousands of dollars, and when a serious injury occurs, those numbers can soar. Fortunately, car insurance will help with some costs associated with an accident, but even then, there are limits. Even with the best insurance available, if you are the victim of a car accident, you can wind up with major financial losses that can have a lifelong effect on your quality of life and your well-being.
Knowing what to do in the wake of a car accident can mean the difference between being saddled with huge financial burdens–even if the accident was not your fault–and receiving the compensation you deserve for your injuries.
What to Do Following a Car Accident
If you were involved in a car accident, there are several steps that you should take if you are able to do so. These include:
‣ Checking on yourself and your passengers: The first step that you should take after a car accident is make sure you and your fellow passengers aren’t injured. If you are able to do so, make sure the driver and passengers in the other vehicle aren’t injured as well. Try to move out of the roadway if at all possible to prevent being struck by oncoming traffic, but do not leave the scene under any circumstances.
‣ Call the police: even if your accident is relatively minor, you should call the police and file a report. Injuries associated with your accident might not surface immediately, and filing a police report can help with a personal injury lawsuit if one becomes necessary.
‣ Exchange information with the other driver: Specifically, you should exchange your name, address, phone number and insurance information, including the name of the insurance company, the policy number and the phone number.
‣ Take photos of the accident: If you are able to do so, take pictures of your accident from several different angles. When doing so, be sure to stay out of the way of oncoming traffic. Also take note of the location, road surface, weather and lighting during the time of your accident. All of these factors can play a role in determining fault and supporting your case later on.
‣ Get information on witnesses: Gather the names, phone numbers and email addresses of any witnesses so that you can provide such information to your lawyer. If you end up needing to make an insurance claim or go to court, having testimony from unbiased witnesses can make a big difference in the outcome of your case.
‣ Take caution in what you say regarding your accident: When talking to the police, be sure to tell the officer the facts of the case, but don’t offer any opinions. Never speak with the other party’s insurance representative without first consulting with an attorney.
‣ Seek medical attention: This is a crucial step, even if you don’t think you’ve been injured or if you’ve “only” received bruises or scratches. Some injuries, including nerve damage, whiplash, and spinal and head injuries, can take a day, a week or even longer to become evident, and some injuries like concussions can be life-threatening. Even if you feel fine, seeing a doctor is a critical part of making sure you really are fine. Seeing a doctor is also very important for supporting any future insurance or legal claims you may have.
‣ Follow through on your doctor’s advice: if your doctor advises that you have diagnostic imaging or other tests, for example, it’s important to have those tests, and keep any resulting paperwork, including receipts for any bills you’ve paid out of pocket.
‣ Call an attorney: If you have suffered injuries as a result of your accident, it’s important to call a skilled personal injury attorney as soon as possible to review your case. An attorney can help you navigate the often complex post-accident landscape so you don’t wind up inadvertently making a misstep that could affect your rights and your compensation. Even a small mistake could end up leaving you with substantial financial obligations, regardless of fault. During your attorney meeting, be sure to bring any paperwork, notes, photos or other records regarding your case for the attorney to review. Also be ready to provide the lawyer with the contact information from any witnesses to the accident.
‣ Keep documentation: Be sure to keep all paperwork pertaining to the accident, including medical forms and records, emails, and written records of any phone calls you make or receive.
‣ Do NOT sign any papers from an insurance company: doing so may result in your giving up your rights to be compensated for your losses. When speaking with an insurance agent–including your own–stick to the facts, and don’t offer an opinion on fault. Remain objective. If you receive papers from any insurance agency or other party, have your attorney review them first before taking any other action.