What To Do After An Accident

Car Accident Checklists

What To Do To Be Prepared for An Accident

Keep your car well maintained.  Check to be sure that you have good tires, brakes, working emergency flashers and functioning airbags

Always wear your seatbelt and check to be sure your passengers are wearing their seatbelts

Use approved safety seats for young children

Get the best insurance you can afford.  If you can’t afford to lose your car, consider getting full coverage insurance even if you have an older car.  The cost of full coverage insurance goes down when your car is less valuable.  Get insurance with good liability limits and medical coverage, especially if you have high deductible health insurance or no health insurance.  A lot of damage is done by drivers who are uninsured so you should consider higher than minimum coverage.  You should also get good insurance if you have assets such as a home and cars or other property that need to be protected in the event that you cause a serious accident. Nebraska only currently requires a minimum of $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident liability coverage.   That does not go very far if you someone else has been seriously injured.

Be familiar with the rules of the road and always drive defensively

Do not drive if you are impaired or if you are too tired to drive responsibly

Carry an emergency kit including things you might need after an accident.  Every emergency kit should include a good first aid kit as well as road flares.  Other things that you should have with you are a cell phone and adequate clothing in case you have to spend time outside in case you have an accident in cold weather.  A flashlight is also a good thing to have. 

A printed list of emergency contacts is always good to have in the car 

Wear a medical alert bracelet if you have any medical conditions that emergency responders need to be aware of.

A Checklist of information to record at the scene of the accident will help you remember the information you need to get immediately following the accident.  Following is information that you should get about other people at the time of the accident.

Names, addresses, telephone numbers and email addresses for all drivers and witnesses.

Insurance information including the name of the insurance company, the name of the insured owner of the vehicle, the policy number and the telephone number for the insurance company as well as their coverage limits should be recorded if possible.

You should also get all of the contact information for the police officer who investigates the car accident.  This includes the officers’ names, badge numbers and the name of the police department they work for.

You should take notes about the cars involved, including the make, model and year of the car as well as the color and the state and license number.

Take pictures of the vehicles, people involved and the scene of the accident.

Make a diagram of the vehicle accident.  This will help when talking to insurance adjusters and it will also help you accurately fill out an individual accident report.

A list of information to obtain at an accident would be good to keep in your glove compartment.  That will make it easier to remember everything you need to do even if you are going through a fast-moving and stressful experience at the scene of the accident.

What to do after an accident

Do not leave the accident scene of the accident.  Leaving the scene of an accident before the police investigation is complete could lead to you being ticketed or being charged as a hit-and-run driver.

Check on all drivers and passengers for injuries.  Call 911 if anyone needs to go to the hospital.

Call the police.  It is important to document everything that has happened as soon as possible.  The police report is usually the most important part of the accident investigation.

Get all the contact information about the other drivers involved in the accident as well as their insurance information.  If you have a reminder list as described above it could help you remember everything you need to record.

Do not apologize to anyone.  Any apology could be misconstrued as an admission of fault later, even if that was not your intention.

Ask all witnesses about what they saw.  Be sure to write down their names and contact information.  You may need to be able to contact them later, especially if you have an injury claim that goes to court.

Take pictures of the people and the vehicles involved in the car accident.  It is also useful to take pictures of the road, including skid marks and piles of debris that are evidence of how the crash occurred.

Report the accident to your own insurance company promptly.  You have the obligation under your insurance contract to give your own insurance company all of the information they need to investigate their claim.  That includes giving them written or verbal statements as well as submitting to physical examinations and making your car available for examination.  You also have the responsibility to cooperate with your own insurance company to litigate your auto injury claim or participate in litigation to recover money from the other driver.

Each Nebraska driver is required to complete an individual accident report if the property damage exceeds $1,000 or if anyone is injured.  The report should be completed within 10 days and failure to complete an individual report can lead to suspension of your driver’s license.  We help our injury clients complete these forms.

If you are injured, get the medical treatment you need.  Do not wait.  As soon as you decide that you need to go to a doctor you should go promptly.  Waiting to start treatment causes problems proving that the injury was caused by the crash.

If you have been injured and will need to make an injury claim you should consider discussing your case with a car accident lawyer as soon as possible.  Although it is important to have the claim investigation occur promptly so that you can get paid for the repairs to your car and get back on the road, you do not want to be in such a rush that you make mistakes.  Insurance adjusters like to deny claims.  You do not want to give them any information that can be used against you later.

Keep a journal about your experiences after the accident.  You should take notes about how you feel and things that you can’t do after the accident while they are fresh in your mind.  If you wait until you are getting ready to go to court, you will have adjusted to your new limitations and may have a hard time even remembering all the details about how the accident has affected you.  It is also to take notes about your doctors and treatment as you go along.  That way you can help us get complete records and billing that are necessary for a successful injury claim.

Do not discuss your accident on social media.  Insurance companies often troll the internet for anything they can use against you.  Especially avoid posting pictures of yourself from the time of the accident until the conclusion of your injury claim.  A picture of you smiling at a birthday party can be used to say that you were not in pain and were not injured.

What To Do After An Accident - Montag Law