Steps to Take After a Car Accident (with Checklist)

steps to take after a car accident

According to the Wisconsin Department of Transportation, drivers are involved in more than 100,000 traffic crashes every year. Unfortunately, many of those car accidents result in injuries and significant medical expenses; both circumstances warrant legal consultation.

There are steps drivers can take moments after the accident that can be beneficial for drivers, both personally and financially. Because the time after a car accident can be overwhelming, we’ve listed the steps to take after an accident in a simple checklist.

Do an initial check after the car accident

___Don’t move the vehicle (unless it is unsafe to stay in place). Wait for a police officer to give instructions to move the vehicle.
___If possible, turn on vehicle flashers so the vehicle is visible to other motorists. ___Assess the condition of everyone in the vehicle and determine if anyone is hurt. (Remember, that not all car accident injuries are immediately evident.)
___Call 9-1-1 to report the accident.
___Seek medical attention if anyone is hurt.

Collect information

___Take pictures of the accident scene (if possible). (Try to get photos of the scene, vehicles, vehicle damage, and the surrounding area.)
___Gather information from the other driver: name, phone number, address, and insurance information. (Do not say anything else, as this may negatively impact financial compensations later.)
___Get the name and information of any eyewitnesses (or license plate number).

Answer questions

___Give information to emergency responders, including name, license, car registration, insurance information, and instructions for towing.
___Mention any injuries or pain to emergency responders.

Schedule follow-up appointments

___Make appointments to address medical needs and long-term care after the accident (i.e. doctor, physical therapy, chiropractor, etc.) (Be aware that some injuries show up days after the accident. Take photos of all injuries.)
___Schedule a meeting with a local, experienced car accident lawyer to discuss the specifics of the accident. (Bring these documents to the meeting.)
___Contact the auto insurance company to notify them of the accident.
___Never talk to the other driver’s insurance company until AFTER consulting a lawyer. (Ask the lawyer what information should be given to the insurance company.)

Collect documents

___Save documents related to the accident, including receipts, police reports, medical bills, and insurance documents.
___Consult with the lawyer about any deadlines that need to be met after an auto accident.

The materials on this website are provided for informational purposes only and do not constitute legal advice. These materials are intended, but not promised or guaranteed to be current, complete, or up-to-date and should in no way be taken as an indication of future results. Transmission of the information is not intended to create, and the receipt does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship between sender and receiver. You should not act or rely on any information contained in this website without first seeking the advice of an attorney.

Accidents with Semi-Trucks: Key Questions Answered

accident with semi-truck

Accidents with semi-trucks are a fairly common sight on roads and highways. The Wisconsin Department of Motor Vehicles estimates that more than 6,000 accidents involved a large truck. Because of the large number of commercial trucks on the road and their sheer size, these accidents typically involve serious injuries and medical expenses.

If you have been in an accident with a semi-truck consult with an attorney immediately.

After being hit by a commercial truck, some drivers may decide to deal with the insurance companies on their own. There is significant risk to this approach, as many insurance companies may try to settle the case for as low as possible. Contact an attorney before speaking with the insurance company or trucking company representative.

What steps can help get a fair accident settlement?

After an accident with a semi-truck, drivers can take steps that increases their chance for a fair settlement:

  • Leave the car where it stops (unless it is unsafe to do so).
  • Contact the police as soon as it is safe.
  • Remain in the vehicle until the police officer arrives (unless it is unsafe to do so).
  • Do not make any statements to anyone (bystanders or the other driver) about the accident.
  • Ask the other driver for their name, address, car license plate number, contact information, and insurance company and policy information.
  • If it is safe, take pictures of the accident scene and landmarks around it.
  • Try to collect the contact information of everyone who saw the accident.
  • Always seek medical attention for injuries after the accident (immediately after and days after). Some accident injuries take a few days before symptoms occur.
  • Take pictures of any injuries related the accident.
  • Avoid talking to other insurance companies until after consulting a lawyer.
  • Contact an experienced personal injury lawyer if there is property damage and medical expenses related to the accident.

What expenses can be covered by compensation?

After an accident with a semi-truck, drivers can be compensated for accident-related expenses, such as (but not limited to):

  • property damage,
  • medical expenses,
  • pain and suffering,
  • future lost income
  • lost wages

To receive a fair accident settlement, drivers should try to keep all paperwork related to the accident and give it to their personal injury lawyer. All documentation can be helpful, such as (but not limited to):

  • Police report
  • Trucking company name and address (this may be included in the accident report)
  • Medical bills
  • Photographs
  • Citations arising from the accident
  • Insurance documents and contact information (from both drivers)

The materials on this website are provided for informational purposes only and do not constitute legal advice. These materials are intended, but not promised or guaranteed to be current, complete, or up-to-date and should in no way be taken as an indication of future results. Transmission of the information is not intended to create, and the receipt does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship between sender and receiver. You should not act or rely on any information contained in this website without first seeking the advice of an attorney.

When to Contact a Wisconsin Auto Accident Lawyer

Auto Accident Lawyer

The time after a car accident can be very uncertain and overwhelming. There is so much information to sift through and so many unanswered questions about the accident and when to consult a car accident lawyer. We hear questions from clients involved in auto accidents every day, and have compiled a list of general information and tips. It is important to note that this information is not specific to any situation. To get that information, contact an experienced, local car accident attorney.

What to do after a car accident

There are many different types of car accidents and reasons for the accidents. Though the circumstances vary, keep in mind that all actions and words may be brought up later in legal proceedings and could impact any settlement amounts. When an accident happens, follow these steps:

  • Do not move the car unless it needs to happen for safety reasons.
  • Unless it is unsafe to do so, stay in the vehicle until a police officer arrives.
  • Call the police.
  • Take pictures of the scene safely. Try to take pictures of the position of the vehicles, skid marks, damage, and other landmarks or relevant markings (i.e. speed limit signs, stoplights, etc.)
  • Do not say anything to anyone at the car accident scene.
  • Ask eye witnesses for their contact information.
  • Get the name, address, car license plate number, contact information, and insurance company and policy information.
  • Answer questions and give contact information to the police.
  • Be open with emergency responders about aches and pains arising from the accident.
  • Seek medical assistance for all injuries in the days following the accident. (Some injuries, especially soft tissue injuries may take a few days to notice.)
  • Take photos of injuries.
  • Do not talk to the other driver’s insurance company until talking to a lawyer.

When to contact a lawyer about a car accident

In general terms, anyone involved in a car accident and suffered injuries should contact a lawyer as soon as possible.

In Wisconsin, the driver considered at-fault is responsible for compensating other drivers for property damage, medical bills, physical pain and suffering, loss of wages and future income, and any other expenses stemming from the accident. If the accident involved minor injuries or property damage that were resolved shortly, drivers may decide to deal with the insurance companies on their own. There is some risk to this approach, as many insurance companies may try to settle the case for as low as possible.

Working with an Auto Accident Lawyer

Before the first meeting with an auto accident attorney, clients can prepare by collecting all information about the car accident, including (but not limited to):

  • Police report
  • Medical bills
  • Photographs
  • Citations arising from the accident
  • Insurance documents and contact information (from both drivers)

As a trial attorney who is experienced in handling all types of personal injury accident cases against negligent drivers and their insurance company, I can assist in making sure you are compensated for your injuries and damages.

The immediate aftermath of an accident is a very stressful and emotional time. Even a minor “fender bender” can cause significant and long lasting physical and emotional injuries. After the accident, you will suddenly be asked questions about how the accident happened, your driver’s license, registration, auto insurance, injuries, towing and storage of your vehicle, and all of these will be asked while you have that splitting headache, backache, and/or neck pain. This is why it is important to know what to do if you are ever involved in an accident.

If there is any doubt in your mind that you may be injured, you should request medical assistance. Whether this involves calling for an ambulance or simply transporting yourself to the nearest hospital or urgent care center, you should do so. Follow the advice of medical personnel who arrive on the scene. They will begin the process of documenting your injuries. Do not minimize the physical and emotional trauma you or your loved one has just gone through. All statements, such as “I am alright” which you make immediately after the accident, will and can work against you.

Do not ignore or downplay your potential injuries. Generally, the third or fourth day after an accident you will feel your worst. Most soft tissue injuries (whiplash) are muscle strain and sprain related. They may not become completely symptomatic for the first 48 to 72 hours. You should see a medical practitioner who is familiar with your medical history before making any definitive statement about whether or not you were injured or how you feel. Remember, you were not injured before the accident. You should tell your doctor of any change in your physical or emotional health.

Do not accept offers of “early” settlements. Before making any decision to settle or make a statement to the other party’s insurance company, you should always consult a trial attorney who is experienced in handling personal injury accident cases against negligent drivers and their insurance company.

There is no fee unless we win.

5 Important Documents to Retain after a Car Accident

car accident where woman is being assisted by emergency respondersAfter a car accident, even a minor fender bender, it can seem like there is a mountain of paperwork to get through. It can be tempting to toss all that paperwork and put the whole ordeal behind you. If thinking of contacting a lawyer—-or if there is a slim possibility you might contact a lawyer about the car accident—resist the urge to get rid of all the bills and reports. Keep a file of all documentation, which can be invaluable from the first meeting with your lawyer until the case is settled.

Police Report

If the police were called to the scene of the accident (which should be done as an essential step after a car accident), a police report is usually filed. The police report is filled with important information, such as a diagram of the accident and facts related to each driver.

Medical Bills

All medical bills should be kept from applicable agencies, including the ambulance, chiropractor, emergency room (if applicable), doctor visits, specialist, psychiatrist (if needed) and any other invoices related to the driver’s well-being after the accident. Many injuries do not become obvious for several days after the accident; a visit to a general practitioner should be made shortly after the accident to document and treat any accident-related issues.

Photographs

After an accident, a driver should not move vehicles until the police arrive (or if the situation is not safe). If well enough to move, take the opportunity to take pictures of the accident scene, vehicle damage, and physical injuries. The insurance company may also take photos of the damage and may provide additional photos upon request.

Insurance Documents

Typically, there are two or more additional insurance companies involved in an accident; each insurance company usually takes statements from each driver involved. A lawyer may advise that no statement be given (consult the lawyer before giving a statement to any party), but will need all statements collected by the companies involved.

Citations

Traffic tickets are not issues in every car accident, but any tickets issued are legally relevant and necessary. Be honest and forthcoming in all communications with the lawyer; once retained, all conversations are confidential. These guidelines, and the documentation, are essential for future legal proceedings.

The materials on this website are provided for informational purposes only and do not constitute legal advice. These materials are intended, but not promised or guaranteed to be current, complete, or up-to-date and should in no way be taken as an indication of future results. Transmission of the information is not intended to create, and the receipt does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship between sender and receiver. You should not act or rely on any information contained in this website without first seeking the advice of an attorney.