Car accidents are traumatic events that many people do not have to experience in their lifetime. People generally feel panicked and confused in the moment when the simple act of driving turns into potential lifelong consequences for your health, finances and future. After being involved in an accident you should try to calm down. Focus on your breathing and just try to comprehend the situation. If you are involved in a car accident in Utah, your next steps can make a world of a difference.
It is your legal right to be compensated for your damages if the other driver was at fault but unless you take the appropriate steps you may not get the compensation that you deserve. The following steps are recommended as a course of action after being involved in a car accident:
Do Not Flee The Scene Of An Accident
If anyone is killed or injured, remain at the scene of the accident unless you require immediate medical assistance yourself. In Utah, fleeing the scene of an accident (hit-and-run) is a felony punishable by up to 20 years in prison.
Get Immediate Medical Assistance
Call 911 or ask someone to do it immediately if you have been injured in car accident. If you are conscious you should ask your medical provider to take detailed notes of your injuries and the prescribed course of treatment.
Obtain Information About The Other Vehicle
If a serious injury has been avoided in the accident then you should note down or photograph the license plate number, the make, model and color of any other vehicles involved in the accident. If you have the means to do so, take photos of the scene and of any damages to the vehicles and any injuries that you might have sustained. The most important information to obtain is the name of the other driver’s insurance company and policy number as well as the number of the other person’s driver’s license. You should also try to obtain current contact information from everyone who was involved in or that witnessed the accident. If a law enforcement officer arrives, write down the officer’s name as well. The vehicle identification number or VIN number of the other car is also a desirable piece of information. It is commonly listed on the driver’s insurance card. Be sure to provide your info to the other driver, regardless of who was at fault.
Do Not Admit Fault In An Auto Accident Under Any Circumstances
It is imperative that you do not admit to any wrongdoing even if you think you were at fault for the accident. It is possible that you are wrong about the cause of the accident or the other driver may hold partial blame. Admitting fault or apologizing can be very expensive as it can cost you money you don’t need to pay or prevent you from getting the recovery that you deserve.
Do Not Admit To Being Okay Or Feeling Fine Until You Have Received Medical Assistance
Even if you don’t feel that you were injured in the accident, do not say it to the other driver. Soft-tissue injuries can often take a long while to manifest. If you have stated that you are fine it gives the opportunity to other driver’s insurance company to deny or reduce your claim. On the flip side, do not lie either in saying you are injured if you aren’t or if you don’t know. Keep your options open until a few days have passed to see how you really feel and to seek medical attention if required.
Note Down All Important Occurrences After An Accident
Note down everything you remember about the accident as soon as possible, including:
- The time and date of the accident,
- The cross streets and direction of travel of each vehicle,
- Your best estimate of each driver’s speed, and
- Any adverse road conditions.
Retain A Competent Auto Accident Lawyer
An experienced Utah personal injury attorney can help protect your rights and determine whether you may be entitled to compensation.