UTAH AUTO ACCIDENT CHECKLIST
We are frequently asked “what should I do if I’m involved in a car crash?” Here’s the answer.
1. SAFELY STOP AND EXIT YOUR VEHICLE
This seems obvious. You’d be surprised at how many cases we’ve had where someone didn’t do this. We were recently involved in a case where a truck driver pulled off the road due to heavy snow. His passenger exited the truck, walked onto the roadway and was hit by a car.
Ideally, you should stop the vehicle and not move it until the police arrive. It is a crime to leave the scene. Sometimes that is not practical. Remember, safety of yourself and your passengers comes first. If it is not safe to exit your vehicle, stay in your vehicle until the police arrive.
2. CHECK FOR INJURIES
Check yourself and your passengers for injuries. Then check anyone else involved in the accident. If anyone has serious injuries, render first aid.
3. CALL THE POLICE
With the prevalence of cell phones, someone will probably call the police by the time you get to this step. In Utah, you must call the police if you are involved in an accident in which anyone was injured. You should also call the police if there is any noticeable vehicle damage.
4. GET WITNESS NAMES AND NUMBERS
We have a lot of cases where someone stops and asks if everyone is alright and then leaves before the police arrive. Sometimes, we really wish we could talk to those witnesses. Before they leave, have them write down their name and number for you.
5. EXCHANGE DRIVER INFORMATION
Get the name, address, phone number, license plate number, driver license number, insurance name, insurance address and insurance policy number of all other people involved in the crash. If the police come, they will get this information for you.
6. COOPERATE WITH THE POLICE IN COMPLETING AN ACCIDENT REPORT
The police will investigate the accident and form an opinion regarding who is at fault. That opinion is not binding but is very influential on insurance adjusters. The more cooperative you are with the police, the more likely the will give your side of the story full consideration. Be polite and cooperative.
7. CALL AN ATTORNEY
Too often, people wait weeks or months to call us. We like to do several things early in a case, such as: photograph the vehicles, photograph skid marks, photograph the accident scene, interview witnesses. If a car has been repaired, we can’t photograph it.
We can also help you with making an application for PIP benefits and negotiating a settlement for vehicle damage (if you hire us to help with your personal injury claim we will provide these services for free).
8. REPORT THE CRASH TO YOUR INSURANCE COMPANY
If you hire us, we will do this for you. If not, call your insurance agent and tell your agent about the crash. Your agent will help you report the crash to the main company.
9. GET FOLLOW-UP MEDICAL TREATMENT
You may have been treated by the paramedics and at the emergency room. They only provide emergency treatment. Numerous studies have shown that physical therapy works. They also show that the quicker you start physical therapy, the faster you will recover and the better result you’ll get. We sometimes have clients who tough it out and hope for the best. Often times they end up regretting that decision.