Important Next Steps After an Accident
Jan. 18, 2022
If you have been involved in an accident, every moment after the traumatic event can feel like a whirlwind. You may panic or perhaps go into shock, preventing you from thinking clearly. Nevertheless, every step you take after an accident may affect a future personal injury claim.
In all the turmoil after an accident, you need to understand what steps to take to ensure your safety and protect your rights. At Denning Law Firm we seek to help accident victims and families navigate the legal process and assist them with recovering the compensation they deserve. We proudly serve clients in Kansas City, Missouri, Kansas City, Kansas, and Overland Park.
Steps to Take After an Accident
The moments following an accident can be incredibly disorienting and stressful. However, in all the chaos and confusion, accident victims need to know the steps to take to protect themselves and their loved ones. The steps to take following an accident include:
Stay at the scene. Under Missouri law, leaving the scene of a car crash is a criminal offense. You need to stay at the scene and exchange information with other parties involved in the accident. In some cases, it is necessary to move the damaged vehicle to the side of the road to prevent further accidents. However, doing so is not permitted if the accident involves death, serious injury, or the vehicle is not running properly.
Call the police. Under Missouri law, people involved in car accidents must notify law enforcement if the crash caused property damage exceeding $500, bodily injuries, or death. Calling the police and reporting the accident is essential for official documentation of the accident. The police report may serve as a crucial piece of evidence for a future legal claim.
Obtain documentation. It is important to gather evidence after the accident. Many people mistakenly believe that the police will obtain all the necessary documentation and information, but that is not entirely true. You need to gather other drivers’ information, talk to witnesses, take photos at the scene of the accident, write down your account of what happened, and take additional steps to gather and preserve evidence.
Get medical care. Many accident victims put off seeking medical attention because most victims believe there were no injuries or that their injuries were minor. However, checking yourself for injuries as soon as possible is crucial for three reasons: your own health and safety, official documentation of your injuries (if any), and to assist in proving the nature and extent of injuries in any potential future personal injury claim. Waiting too long after an accident to get medical care may make it more difficult to prove the link between the accident and your injury.
Notify the insurance company. Once you take care of your injuries after the accident, the next important step is to contact your insurance company and report the accident. Most insurance companies require policyholders to report accidents promptly and within a reasonable amount of time. Many insurers in Missouri consider as few as two days to be “a reasonable amount of time.” Failure to notify the insurance company may affect your claim.
Hire one of our attorneys. Our attorneys can help guide you through the claims process and fight for the compensation you deserve.
Potential Pitfalls You May
Encounter After an Accident
For some, the process of obtaining compensation is straightforward. For others, recovering damages after an accident may become more complicated. Each accident is unique, which is why many people encounter specific challenges and pitfalls along the way.
Dealing with an uninsured driver. Being involved in a car crash with an uninsured driver can add more stress to the already turbulent experience. While it may become more difficult to obtain compensation for your property damage and injuries if the other driver does not have insurance, you may still have options. Speak with one of our knowledgeable attorneys to discuss your compensation options.
Settling before you have recovered from your injuries. As a rule of thumb, accident victims should wait until their medical treatment is completed before settling a personal injury case although that may not always be possible. If your injuries persist and require continuing medical treatment, you may be entitled to be compensated for any future medical treatment. Knowing whether or not your injuries have resolved makes it easier to determine future medical expenses to settle the claim for a fair amount.
Accepting a low initial settlement offer. Insurance companies use various tactics to pay claimants as little as possible, and making a lowball settlement offer is one of them. If you received a settlement offer from the insurer, consult with our attorneys to determine if the proposed amount would fairly compensate you for all your losses and damages.
Waiting too long to file a claim. Accident victims have a limited amount of time to pursue a claim to be compensated for their injuries. In Missouri, the statute of limitations for personal injury claims is five years from the date of sustaining an injury. In Kansas, the statute of limitations for personal injury claims is two years from the date of injury.
Personal Injury Attorneys
in Kansas City, Missouri
At Denning Law Firm, LLC, our personal injury attorneys in Kansas City, Missouri, understand that the time following an accident can be stressful, hectic, and overwhelming. However, it is crucial to take the mentioned steps to preserve your right to compensation. If you need legal counsel, contact our firm immediately. Get a case evaluation with William Denning or Paeten Denning by reaching out today.