Were you in a Michigan car accident? You likely have questions. Here are some important dos and don’ts in our comprehensive Michigan car accident checklist.
Do these after a Michigan car accident:
1. Do check yourself and others for injuries
Check to see if you were injured. Call 911 if you can. If possible, check on your passengers. How are they doing? Is anyone injured?
2. Do remain at the scene, but get to a safe place
It’s a crime to leave the scene of an accident in MI. After a vehicle accident in Michigan, remain at the scene and wait for police.
At the same time, protect yourself and others. If your car is in a dangerous position on or near the roadway, especially at night or in snowy/icy conditions, move it to a safe location if you can. Make it as visible as possible, by turning on any working lights and hazards.
Remain in your vehicle if you can safely remove it from the roadway. If you cannot, move away from your vehicle. Do not remain in the roadway. Other drivers may strike you or your damaged vehicle if it is in the roadway.
3. Do get witness information
If you or your passengers are able to, talk with witnesses after your Michigan automobile accident. Get their names and contact information. Police are supposed to obtain this information, but they don’t always succeed. Sometimes witnesses leave before talking to the police. Make sure you have a way to contact key witnesses.
4. Do tell the truth and don’t guess
The police will ask you what happened after a car accident. Tell the truth and don’t guess or speculate. Focus on what you remember. If you don’t know whether the light was yellow or red, don’t say it was red.
Don’t assume information. Limit what you say to what you know happened. Keep the contact information of the officer that investigated the accident.
5. Do take photos
After a car wreck, take photos of the crash vehicles, scene, and your injuries. Make sure one of the photos includes the other vehicle’s license plate. Make sure your photo of the scene captures the entire roadway where the accident happened. Wider shots are better. Continue to take pictures of your injuries as they heal.
6. Do get medical treatment
If you were hurt, or you think you might be hurt, get checked out. Encourage your passengers to do the same. Make a record of your injuries. This helps to prevent the insurance company from later arguing you were not hurt in the crash. Remember, some injuries like whiplash may show up days later. If you begin to experience pain days after the accident, get medical treatment then too.
7. Do report the crash to your insurance company
Call your insurance company and report the incident. Keep your report short and to the point. Provide the name and contact information of the officer that investigated the crash, the names of those involved, and the names of any witnesses. Report the location of the crash and basic information about your injuries and where you received medical treatment. Get your adjuster’s contact information so you can send them the photos you took.
Do not call the other driver’s insurance company. Do not speak with the other driver’s insurance company. See below for more information as to why.
8. Do hire an experienced car crash lawyer
Insurance companies act quickly to devalue your claim. This often includes taking recorded statements. You need to know their tactics so you can protect yourself and your family. An experienced Michigan car crash lawyer can help you avoid pitfalls and maximize the value of your case.
Don’t do these after a Michigan car accident:
1. Don’t get angry or yell
Emotions and adrenaline run high after car crashes. Resist the urge to get confrontational and yell or scream. You may say something that will hurt your claim. Remain calm and check to see if the other driver is okay. The other driver is more likely to tell the truth if you are acting reasonably.
2. Don’t speak to the other driver more than necessary
After a car accident, you should limit your contact with the other driver. After checking to see if they are injured, do not continue to speak with them. Do not contact them after the car accident for any reason. If more information is needed from them, your lawyer will get it.
3. Don’t decline medical treatment or ignore doctors’ orders
Insurance companies look for reasons to deny claims after a car accident. One of their favorites is the lack of medical treatment close in time to the crash. They argue, “You must not have been hurt in the crash, because you didn’t get medical treatment.” Avoid this by seeking medical treatment immediately. If you need to take an ambulance to the emergency room, do it.
Once you see a doctor for your injuries, follow their orders. Insurance companies will use your non-compliance to argue you weren’t injured.
4. Don’t admit fault if you’re unsure
If you know you ran a red light, tell the truth. But if you’re not sure what happened after a car accident, don’t admit fault. Things happen quickly in car crashes and memory changes. Crash participants and witnesses often get things wrong, including the reasons for the crash. If you’re not sure whether you were at fault, don’t say you were.
5. Most important, don’t give a recorded statement to the other driver’s insurance company
Insurance companies are out to save money after a car crash. The at-fault driver’s insurance company will likely call you within hours or days of the crash and tell you they are investigating the claim and need your statement for their file. They will act kind and empathetic. Don’t fall for this. They are trying to take a recorded statement to gather evidence to use against you. If an insurance adjuster calls you and you pick up, tell them to contact your lawyer. If they leave you a voicemail, don’t return the call. Call your lawyer and your lawyer will return the call.
If you want to know more about the dos and don’ts of car accidents and the value of your case, call or contact Conybeare Law Office now.
We hope this “What to do after a car accident checklist” is helpful. Talking with an experienced Michigan personal injury attorney can also help you better understand your case’s value and your rights.
The knowledgeable auto accident lawyers at Conybeare Law Office will help you value your case and fight to get you the money you deserve.
To learn more about the legal services offered to our Michigan car crash clients, talk to our office today. Conybeare Law Office has offices in Saint Joseph and Kalamazoo, Michigan, and serves all of southwest Michigan and beyond. Call or contact us for a free consultation. We look forward to talking with you. Remember, if it’s not fair, call the bear.