A car crash can happen to anyone. Once it happens to you; what should you do?
Here at the Judnich Law Office, we’ve put together a list of 7 things every Montana driver should do after a car crash. Our list will help make sure you don’t forget anything important during what is sure to be a stressful time.
Remember, most vehicles are insured. The insurance company will handle your damages. You should never have to pay for anything out of your own pocket. There is no need to be angry or hostile to the other driver.
Take a deep breath
The most important thing to do right after a crash is to calm down. Adrenaline will likely be running through you, so take a few moments and just breathe. When you are ready, unbuckle your seat belt and grab your cell phone, as well as your registration and insurance information.
Once you’ve done this and are ready to exit your vehicle, it’s time to start checking off the following list of 7 things to do after a crash:
1. Take pictures of everything before the vehicles are moved
If you have a camera, use it. Cell phone pictures are really great and automatically log the time and date. Take several pictures of all vehicles from several angles. Try to take photos that show:
- Street lanes
- Skid marks
- License plates
- Unusual conditions such as snow or ice as well
- Any stop signs or traffic signals.
2. Don’t move the vehicles
Leave the cars where they came to rest.
The police may need to see the vehicles if there are any issues. Traffic can go around the vehicles, so just turn them off and wait for the police to arrive. If you can safely set up flares near your car, this can help alert other drivers.
3. Call the police
Every accident should be reported to law enforcement, regardless of how significant the vehicle damage is. One of the primary jobs of law enforcement is reporting car crashes. Montana police departments have dedicated officers whose entire job is following up on car accidents.
4. Identify the driver of the other vehicle
Unfortunately, it should be no surprise that people who are at fault may try to flee an accident scene or blame someone else for driving. Drunk drivers often flee the scene of a crash. If a driver tries to flee a scene try to identify who comes out of the driver’s door and take note of the license plate number of the vehicle.
5. Record what you remember
Use your phone to make a quick video, or write down notes, of what you remember from the accident as soon as you can. Be as specific as you can about what you remember:
- How it happened
- What you were doing at the time
- If you saw it coming
When speaking to the police, insist the officer give you the other driver’s insurance information once information is exchanged. Most officers will leave everyone with information detailing the identity of each party, insurance policy info, and the accident report number.
6. Make note of any witnesses to the crash
Most bystanders will stop for a crash and offer assistance. Although this is a stressful time, try to get a business card or cell phone number with the name of any witness. Once they leave the scene, you may never hear from them again unless you can contact them.
7. Get medical attention right after the crash
The majority of the time, people do not immediately feel pain and injury after a crash. This can be due to adrenaline or shock masking injuries. However, once that wears off (in a day or two) pain and headaches really set in.
It’s always a good idea to be checked out by an ER or Now Care doctor to evaluate what happened to your body in a car crash and can be vital in identifying injuries that may start to appear.
Stressed after your accident? Speak with a lawyer you trust.
Don’t think you need an attorney after your car accident? You might want to think again.
If you were injured in a car crash, there’s no reason to try to work with an insurance company on your own. You’ll end up stressed out and will likely end up getting a smaller settlement than you should.
- Communicate with the insurance company on your behalf
- Ensure all medical bills are paid by the insurance company
- Organize your insurance claims
- Help you get medical treatment
- Determine the value of your specific injury claim
- Negotiate the best possible monetary settlement for you
If you’re still on the fence, read more about why an accident attorney is an investment you’ll be glad you made.
Car accident attorneys like those at Judnich Law are here to help. If you’re feeling stressed dealing with insurance companies, contact us today.
We’re on your side. Your consultation is always FREE and we will take your case seriously.
Marty is a former criminal prosecutor in the Cascade County Attorney’s Office and now uses that experience to defend those accused of crimes. A University of Montana School of Law graduate, Marty focuses his practice on personal injury and criminal defense and is a premier DUI defense attorney. He is also well versed in the insurance claims industry and has negotiated significant settlements with nearly every major insurance company.