Auto and Car Accidents – What to Do – What Not to Do
If you are in a car accident and the car is damaged and/or you are injured (or someone else’s car is damaged and/or someone else is injured), then the drivers are required by law to do certain things.
C.R.S. 42-4-1601 (1): A driver involved in a car crash in which someone is injured is required to stop, stay at the scene, or return to the scene until the driver fulfils the requirements of C.R.S. 42-4-1603 (1).
C.R.S. 42-4-1603(1): A driver involved in a car crash in which someone is injured is required to give name, address, and registration number of the vehicle to the other drivers. And, upon request, a driver is required to exhibit the driver’s license to the other drivers. A driver involved in a car wreck in which someone is injured is also required to render aid and/or assistance to the injured person.
To move or not move the car: If there are signs direction drivers to move crashed cars from traffic, then the drivers should move the cars from traffic. If there are no such signs, then it’s a judgment call. If it was a very minor collision with probably no injuries and it’s rush hour traffic, then maybe the car should be moved from traffic. If it was a huge collision involving serious injuries, then the cars probably should not be moved from traffic. Generally, it is preferable to not move the cars so as to preserve evidence for the investigating authorities.
Other things to do and not do:
DO check on yourself and the passengers of your car for injury.
DO check on the other driver(s) and passengers for injury.
DO call 911 if someone is injured.
DO what you can to make the scene safe.
DO obtain names, addresses and phone numbers of all involved drivers, passengers, and witnesses.
DO take photos of the cars and involved persons with your cell phone camera.
DO provide detailed information to the investigating authorities (CAVEAT: A criminal defence attorney might advise you otherwise depending upon your potential criminal culpability).
DO get checked out medically if you are injured or not feeling well.
DO call your insurance coverage that is available to you: e.g., Medical Payments coverage, Uninsured Motorist, Underinsured Motorist, health insurance, etc.
DO call a lawyer if you have questions about the law, insurance, insurance claims, or your rights and responsibilities.
DO NOT refuse ambulance transport to the hospital if you are injured.
DO NOT refuse medical treatment or delay in getting medical treatment if you are injured or not feeling well.
DO NOT say you are doing okay if you are not doing okay.
DO NOT agree to be interviewed by the at fault driver’s insurance company about the accident and your injuries. It is okay to discuss getting a loaner or rental car and your car repaired or replaced.
DO NOT settle your injury claim immediately. There are at least two reasons not to settle immediately: (1) It is illegal for insurance companies to immediately settle or attempt to settle injury claims; and (2) Your injuries or condition might not be apparent immediately or your injuries or condition might get worse.
DO NOT trust the at fault driver’s insurance company to treat you fairly or to compensate you fairly for your injuries. The at fault driver’s insurance company’s loyalty is to its insured, the at fault driver, not to you. The insurance company is a for profit corporation that strives to pay claims as cheaply as possible in order to be profitable.
DO NOT let the at fault driver’s insurance company treat you disrespectfully because you want to be reimbursed and compensated for your injuries and damages. They probably paid full value or close to it for your car damage. Is your body and life less valuable than your car? No.
DO call an experienced personal injury attorney if the at fault driver’s insurance company is not treating you fairly. Or simply to learn more about your rights.
We will be happy to answer your questions. Give us a call.
Fort Collins Personal Injury and Insurance Law