Bad car accidents happen fast and often seem to come out of nowhere. Following a collision with another motorist, most accident victims are unsure of what to do next.
Car accident injuries such as broken bones (fractures), back pain, and head injuries often take months or longer to heal. Many people have to miss work during this time, and some people will never be able to return to their jobs in the same capacity as before their injury.
Hopefully, you never get into an accident, but if you do, it's best to be ready. If you get into a car accident in Kansas, there are some steps you can take that will help you in your pursuit of fair financial compensation.
Make no mistake: Leaving money on the table after an accident puts you and your family at risk. Crippling medical debt, years of financial struggle, and having to make difficult decisions between your health and paying bills are real results of taking a too-small settlement.
If you were injured in a car accident, get a free case consultation with Kansas' trusted law firm, Bretz Injury Law. In the meantime, here are some general best practices you can use after a car crash.
What to do after a Kansas car accident
The following are recommendations from the Kansas Bar Association on what to do after a wreck. Understanding Kansas accident law, your rights, which evidence to collect, and when to stay quiet can help you build a strong claim from the start.
Never drive away from the scene of an accident. If you have been in an accident or felt your vehicle go over a "bump," it is best to stop. Do not move your vehicle before the police arrive unless it is blocking traffic. If someone is injured, and you are able to, try and help them.
Call 911 and alert the police. Alert your insurance company as soon as you are able. Under the law, you must inform police when an accident causes injury or at least $1,500 in property damage.
ID the other driver
The police will take this information down, but it doesn't hurt for you to have the other person's name, address, city, state, zip, car tag number, driver's license number, and insurance company policy number. Kansas law requires all drivers in an accident to provide this information.
Police will take witness statements, but they can still miss people. Some witnesses cannot stay to wait for the police to arrive. There are some people who will decline to make a statement to the police but will be happy to help you with your claim. Write down witness names, addresses, and contact information. Ask them what they saw.
Record the names of everyone in the crash
Make a note of the names, addresses, and contact information for every passenger, cyclist, pedestrian, motorcyclist, trucker, etc. in the accident.
Make a timeline
Start writing down everything you can remember about the accident as soon as possible, even while you're still at the crash site. No matter how hard we may try, memories become fuzzy with time, and details get confused. It is best to record the incident when the moment is fresh in your mind. Make sure to include information like time, place, clothing, speed, actions prior to the crash, among other details.
Just the facts
The immediate aftermath of a car accident is no time to make an official statement to the police or insurance companies. You are almost certainly in shock, and that will affect your ability to communicate clearly. While you must cooperate with police and insurance agents, you do not have to ruin your claim by making hasty statements. Provide authorities with basic information. Tell them you will be in contact with more information soon. To protect your legal rights and interests, you should speak with a lawyer before making a statement.
ID the police
You may have questions later on. If that happens you will want to speak with officers who were at the accident. It is a good idea to take down the names, departments, and badge numbers of the responding police officers. This information is also available on the accident report that's generated by the police.
See a doctor
If there is an emergency medical technician at the accident, let them examine you. If you are not transported from the scene to a hospital, you will want to see a doctor right away. Even if you were checked at the crash and feel "okay," see a doctor. Injuries don't always present themselves immediately, and even the best EMT in Kansas can miss an injury amid the confusion and chaos of an accident. A doctor will have more time and equipment available to give you a thorough examination.
Call a lawyer
An experienced car accident lawyer will be able to help you pursue compensation for your injuries and other compensable damages. A lawyer can investigate your accident, collect evidence, file persuasive reports and documents under deadlines, and negotiate with the insurance company for a fair financial settlement.
Protect your legal rights after a crash in Kansas
It is vital that you consult a lawyer after a car accident. You need to get the most money possible for your injuries, otherwise, you may end up paying for expensive treatments out of your own pocket. A lot of people think they can't afford a lawyer, but you absolutely can.
At Bretz Injury Law we offer accident victims free case consultations. We can help you understand how the law applies to your case and the value of your claim. Our legal team can help you weigh your legal options for free and with no obligation to hire us.
Our firm serves all of Kansas and our attorneys work on contingency. That means there is no upfront money, retainer, or hourly rate for you to pay. Our fee is added to your final settlement or verdict and paid for by the insurance companies. If we don't win, we don't get paid.
Call or email us today to learn more. We have offices in Hutchinson, Wichita, Salina, Garden City, Dodge City, Liberal, and Hays, and we are ready to hear from you now.