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What Happens After a Car Accident

Being involved in a car accident can feel frightening and overwhelming. First and foremost, in the event of an emergency, always call paramedics if you’re able, or take yourself or others involved in an accident to be treated for any injuries sustained in the accident. Even with accidents being commonplace on the road, many are still wondering, what happens after a car accident? While the situation may vary depending on the circumstances of the accidents, it’s important to know what to avoid soon after an accident.

car accident avoid these mistakes

People often make a number of mistakes, when it comes to dealing with car accidents. These are simple, but common mistakes that lead to lost time, energy, and money. Being aware of these mistakes, and how they affect the outcome of both car accidents and the legal actions taken after, will ensure that you don’t make them. Read on to learn more about what happens after a car accident and the mistakes to avoid.

If you’ve recently been involved in a car accident in Oregon, contact Ryan Hilts for personal injury representation. We offer guidance on how to address the following mistakes. For a free case review, send us a request here

Failing To Document The Car Accident

When you are involved in a car accident, it’s very important that you document the details of that accident. If you intend to file a claim or go to court, then you’re going to need documents that showcase the accident, and what took place. However, knowing what happens after a car accident is important, as many often forget about taking notes. Of course, if you’ve been injured, first seek medical attention first, but try to enlist a witness to help you document for a later date.

Make sure that you or someone who witnessed the accident can:

  1. Take pictures of your vehicle, and any damage that is sustained
  2. Then, take pictures of the other person’s vehicle, and any damage that their vehicle sustained.
  3. If you were injured, or if there was any other property damage, you must also take photos of those things.

When you’ve finished taking those photos, you then need to record a few other pieces of information. This information will provide the basis for both a DMV Report and any kind of claim or lawsuit. Other items that you should always make note of after a car accident:

  • Record the date and time of the accident
  • Log the road you were driving on and the address where the accident took place
  • Note the direction you were driving and the direction of the other vehicle involved
  • Pieces of information and details of how the accident took place

What happens after a car accident is that most people are temporarily distracted either by the shock of the accident or from minor injuries. Things tend to happen very quickly and it’s easy to forget minor, but still very important, details of the accident. For this reason, it’s always best to utilize your phone to take proper documentation.

One of the biggest mistakes you can make is simply not documenting the accident. If you fail to take any pictures or to record when and where the accident took place, a claim or lawsuit won’t get very far.

mistakes to avoid after a car accident

Driving Away

In the state of Oregon, it’s illegal for you to leave the scene of a car accident investing or taking some other form of action. Even if you weren’t responsible for the damages that took place, you’re still breaking the law, and as such, you can be charged with a crime.

If you leave the scene of a car accident where someone was injured – again, it doesn’t matter if you were responsible for the injury or not – you can be charged with a felony.

Driving away from the scene of a car accident is a big mistake, and it will cost you. Plus, if you intend to file a claim for the car accident, you’ll need to be there so that you can speak to the authorities, talk to the other driver, and document what happened.

Forgetting To Call 911

what happens after a car accident

What happens after a car accident? You always call 911. Even if the car accident resulted in no injuries and very little property damage, it’s a good idea to call 911.

When you do that, the police will come and make a police report. Make sure to ask the officer who’s making the report what the police report number is. Using that police report, you’ll have access to some very important documentation regarding the accident, which will make it easier to file a successful claim and to receive the settlement you desire.

Waiting Too Long To File A Report

In the state of Oregon, if you were involved in a car accident where more than $2,500 worth of property was damaged, then you must file an Oregon Traffic Accident And Insurance Report within 72-hours. 

Waiting too long to file this report could result in your license being suspended. Plus, if you intend to file a claim, the insurance company may find it a little odd that you waited so long to file the accident report. And this is doubly true if you intend to file a lawsuit.

Not Seeing A Doctor

Unfortunately, injuries are a very common byproduct of car accidents. If you have been injured, no matter how severe it appears to be,  you must see a doctor.

While you’re seeing the doctor, a medical report will be created. If you have been injured, and you would like to file a claim, then you can use that medical report to aid in filing the claim. If an insurance company sees that medical report, and sees that your injuries are, in fact, serious, then they are far more likely to give you the compensation that you deserve.

Saying The Accident Was “Your Fault”

When speaking to a police officer or an insurance provider, one of the biggest mistakes that you can make is saying that you were at fault for the car accident that transpired. It doesn’t matter if you were, in fact, responsible, or if you weren’t. Simply saying that you were responsible can lead to those statements being used against you.

If you tell an insurance agent that you were responsible for the accident, but would like to receive compensation for the injuries you’ve sustained, they may refuse to do so. And, if a police report has you, on record, saying that you were responsible, that could lead to legal troubles.

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Throwing Away Items That Could Be Potential Evidence

Just as it’s very important for you to document and take photos of the car accident, it’s also important that you keep anything that could be used as evidence for a claim or lawsuit.

Perhaps, this is a shirt that has a little bit of blood on it or a side-mirror that fell off of the mirror; anything that was affected by the car accident can be used as evidence.

Throwing away those items is a big mistake because, without those items, you have less proof of the damages that took place. Pictures, records, and reports are all very important, but having physical proof will make it easier for you to receive compensation for the damages that took place.

Failing To Organize Your Documentation

If you are filing a claim, it is extremely important that you organize all of the documentation you have. Make sure you have all of the basic facts written down and recorded, pictures that are labeled and organized, all of the pertinent insurance information, as well as any records from the doctor, your place of employment, your insurance provider, and the police station.

Without this information being properly organized, it will make the process of filing a claim a lot more challenging. Plus, if you hire an attorney, they will need all of that information organized, so that they can pore through it quickly, and determine the best course of action.

Filing A Claim Without An Attorney

Filing a claim – such as a personal injury claim – without an attorney can be very risky and time-consuming. More often than not, it really doesn’t pay off, due to the complexities and nuances of most car accidents and the intricacies of the legal system.

Instead of filing a claim without an attorney, you should contact a good attorney, who will walk you through the process of organizing all of your documentation, filing the claim, and then taking the claim to court and receiving the compensation that you deserve.

Instead, what you must do, is to contact a good lawyer that will walk you through the process of filing a lawsuit that leads to the settlement you are looking for. This is especially important if you – or someone else – was seriously injured in the accident, or if there was significant property damage.

what to do after an accident

Accepting A Poor Settlement

More often than not, insurance companies attempt to pay as little money as they can get away with. But, you don’t need to accept a poor settlement. Instead, you can work to reach a settlement that is ideal for you.

To do that, it’s best to work with an attorney. Working with an attorney will make it easier to receive the settlement that you desire, because the attorney will work directly with you and help you navigate the entire process. In fact, on average, individuals who file a claim while working with an attorney receive $60,000 more.