A car accident, or more accurately a car crash, is not something you generally plan for. By intention, it is an event that you hope to avoid. Certainly, there are steps you can take to mitigate the stress that immediately follows a car crash. You make sure to have your insurance information readily available in your glove box, center console, or purse/wallet. Regardless of where you keep your insurance card, make sure you know where it is to avoid the additional anxiety of searching for it right after the crash. You should also have a quick reference check list of steps to take. For example:
CAR ACCIDENT CHECK LIST:
- Exchange insurance & contact information
- Take photos of:
- Cars’ position at scene
- Damage to all cars
- Driver’s license of other driver/s
- Collect witness contact information
In fact, you may want to print this page, cut the above “check list card” and staple it to the back of your insurance card. This way it will be readily available when you need it most. In previous blog posts we have looked at a much more comprehensive approach to information you should gather immediately after an accident. Please refer to those posts for that information.
After you leave the scene of the car crash what should you do next. The first thing you should do is contact your car insurance company (if you haven’t already done so at the scene) and report the accident. Your insurance company will provide you with a PIP (personal injury protection) claim number that you can use to received medical treatment. If you have property damage coverage you can also open a claim for your property damage to get your car repaired. Under some circumstances it is easier and faster to have your own car insurance company cover your property damage and get reimbursed later by the at fault insurance company.
The next thing will be to start your medical care. It is critical that you don’t delay getting medical attention for your injuries. It is important to seek proper medical care and to communicate ALL of your symptoms to that provider. If you decide to wait a few days or weeks before getting any treatment you will find it much more difficult to convince the insurance company the injuries you suffered are related to the accident, or that you even sustained any injuries. They will use your delay in getting medical treatment against you – so don’t give them that opportunity. Go see your doctor, urgent care, chiropractor, or anyone else to get the necessary treatment.
Also, keep in mind that you need to file an accident report with the DMV within 72 hours of the accident. This filing is required for any accidents where the damage of any vehicle exceeds $2,500, any vehicle is towed from the accident site, any injury or death resulted from the crash, or if damages to anyone’s property excluding the vehicles is more than $2,500. You can download the DMV Accident report form at: https://www.oregon.gov/ODOT/Forms/DMV/32fill.pdf.
Lastly, I would encourage you to call us if you have any questions or are unsure about what you need to do after your car accident. We are honored to be serving this community and are committed to making sure every Oregonian knows their rights and responsibilities following a car crash. You don’t have to hire or pay our firm to have your questions answered. We are always happy to offer a free consultation.