Car accidents can be damaging and traumatic experiences. These incidents often occur unpredictably, and the drivers involved may be shaken and unsure of what to do in the immediate aftermath. Therefore, every driver in Colorado needs to know the first steps to take after a car accident. Appropriate action can significantly improve a driver’s chance of securing fair compensation for their damages and holding the party responsible for their accident accountable for those damages.
If you experience a car accident and only suffer minor injuries, you should be able to move around as long as you do so safely. Stop your vehicle and check yourself for injuries and then check your passengers. If you can do so carefully, check on the other drivers involved in the crash. Colorado law requires all drivers to report accidents that result in significant property damage, injuries, or death. Call 911 to report the accident and wait for the police to arrive. They will perform an initial investigation to determine how the accident occurred and take statements from the drivers involved and any witnesses who saw the accident happen.
Failure to report an accident can lead to criminal charges. If you leave the scene of a crash before the police allow you to or without reporting the accident, you could face a charge for hit-and-run. You should also report the accident to your insurance company. If another driver caused your accident in Colorado, you could file a claim against their auto insurance policy, and you should notify their insurance company that you intend to file a claim. However, you should consult an attorney before actually filing the claim.
It’s vital to seek medical treatment after an accident, even if you think your injuries are minor. Adrenaline in your system will dull pain sensations, and you could be injured worse than you initially realize. First responders will take you to the nearest hospital if you are severely injured. If you can leave the crash scene on your own, see a doctor immediately. They can verify the extent of your injuries and provide a medical report you may need for an insurance claim and subsequent personal injury claim.
Colorado imposes a fault-based system when it comes to resolving car accidents. This means that if another driver caused your accident, you could file a claim against their auto insurance policy to recover your losses. However, it is always best to consult a lawyer before speaking with insurance companies. While you should report the accident to the appropriate insurance carriers before filing your claim, you should notify the insurance companies that you intend to talk to your lawyer before filing your claim. Legal counsel will significantly reduce the insurance company’s chances of contesting your claim or offering a lowball settlement.
Your legal team can not only assist you in securing an insurance claim settlement as quickly as possible after your accident but also help you explore further legal options if the other driver’s insurance isn’t enough to cover your damages. For example, you might need to file a personal injury claim if you suffered severe losses that their insurance can’t compensate.
The police report from your accident and the medical report from your doctor will be instrumental in building a personal injury claim against the driver responsible for your recent accident. An experienced attorney can help you calculate the damages that insurance won’t cover and help you build a personal injury case against the driver who caused your accident. Success with the case hinges on your ability to prove the full scope of your damages and that the defendant is directly responsible for those damages.
A successful personal injury claim can potentially yield more compensation than you might expect. For example, an insurance settlement may cover some of your medical expenses and vehicle repair costs, but if you suffer severe injuries, you will likely require ongoing treatment and may be unable to work for an extended time. Your attorney will help you obtain compensation for any medical expenses and property damage that insurance won’t cover in addition to lost income, lost earning capacity, and compensation for your pain and suffering.
Q: What Steps Should You Take After a Car Accident?
A: Report the accident to the police and seek medical care as soon as possible. You should prepare to file an insurance claim or personal injury lawsuit by securing legal counsel from an experienced personal injury attorney. Your first steps after a crash have a significant impact on your recovery, so be sure to obtain legal counsel as soon as possible.
Q: How Long Do You Have to Report an Accident to Insurance in Colorado?
A: Most insurance companies require drivers to report accidents as soon as possible, typically within the first 24 hours of the accident or a few days. If you are filing a claim against another driver’s insurance, you should call their insurance company to report the accident but notify them that you will file your claim once you consult legal counsel. Report the accident to your own insurance company as required by the terms of your policy.
Q: Do You Have to Call the Police After an Accident in Colorado?
A: It’s possible to resolve minor car accidents privately, but if you sustained injuries or there is any room to doubt whether you need to report an accident to the police, it is always best to err on the side of caution and report it. Having a police report of the accident on file can be tremendously helpful when it comes to securing compensation for your damages.
Q: Do You Need to Hire a Lawyer to Recover Compensation for a Car Accident in Colorado?
A: It is technically possible to recoup losses from a minor car accident without hiring an attorney in Colorado. However, having legal counsel assist your recovery will make the process much easier to manage. Your attorney can assist with your insurance claim and help you take further legal action when necessary. An experienced attorney is also likely to maximize your compensation, whereas the average person could unintentionally settle for less than they should when they do not have legal counsel.
Any car accident can be a traumatic experience, and navigating the aftermath of an accident is often confusing and difficult. Cheney, Galluzzi & Howard has extensive experience guiding Colorado clients through their car accident claims, and we can apply this experience to your situation. Contact us today to schedule a consultation with an experienced car accident attorney and learn more about your legal options.