Utah Car Accident Lawyer – The Advocates

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How to Handle a Car Accident

A car accident can be incredibly stressful. Immediately following the accident, it’s normal to feel shocked, upset, and confused. However, it’s important to stay as calm as possible and take the following actions in order to preserve your right to a settlement.

At the scene of the accident

The scene of a car accident is likely not a place you want to be for an extended period of time. However, it’s crucial that you remain at the scene. Utah law requires that drivers involved in a motor vehicle collision stay at the scene to render aid and exchange information with the other involved parties. Failing to do so could be classified as a misdemeanor or felony, depending on the nature of the accident.

While at the scene, what you do and say is important. Be sure to take the following actions to protect yourself and preserve your case.

Examine injuries

Immediately after being involved in an accident, take stock of your injuries, and have all passengers do the same. If anyone suffered serious injuries, call 911.

Even if no one appears to be seriously injured, everyone involved should seek medical treatment as soon as possible after the accident.

Move your vehicle to safety

If you are physically able and your vehicle is operable, state law requires that you move your vehicle out of the way of traffic. Get onto the shoulder or, if possible, into a nearby parking lot.

In severe accidents where there are serious injuries or significant vehicle damage, the police and/or a towing company may need to assist with the removal of all vehicles from the roadway.

Don’t admit fault

Apologizing to the other driver or accepting part or all of the blame for the accident may feel like the nice thing to do. Do not do this. Admitting fault will seriously damage your ability to file a claim.

In many car accident cases, an investigation must be done to determine who was at fault for the accident and to what degree. If you accept the blame for the accident, an investigation may not be done.

Utah is a modified comparative fault state, meaning that even if you were partly responsible for the crash, you can still receive financial compensation, as long as you are not found to be more than 51% at fault.

By taking full responsibility for the accident before an investigation is ever done, you not only lose your right of action, but potentially open yourself up to suits from the other driver. Do not admit fault for the accident to the police, the other driver, insurance adjusters, or anyone else involved in the accident.

Call the police

Most insurance companies will require a police report in order to file a claim. Even if there is no apparent medical emergency and 911 is not called, you should call the local non-emergency line and request that a police officer come to the scene.

When the officer arrives, they will ask questions regarding the circumstances surrounding the accident. Give them the facts about your accident but avoid offering opinions or speculation on who or what caused the crash.

This police report can be used as evidence when building your personal injury claim.

Exchange information

In any accident that results in injury or property damage, you are required by law to exchange information with the other driver. Keep this conversation calm and professional. Be sure to obtain the following information from them:

  • Full name
  • Phone number
  • Address
  • Insurance information
  • License plate number

Take photos

The more thoroughly you document your accident, the easier it will be to build your case later on. Photo and video footage are particularly useful, as they are more reliable than the memories of those at the scene. Take pictures and videos of the following:

  • Your injuries
  • All involved vehicles from multiple angles
  • Traffic and weather conditions
  • Marks on the pavement
  • The scene as a whole from multiple angles

This documentation can be used by your attorney when building your case. Even if something doesn’t seem important, take a picture anyway. Your Advocate can help you determine what is useful later.

After leaving the scene

Once you have been cleared to leave the scene, there are still a few actions you must take. It is important that you do the following in order to take care of yourself and further your recovery.

Seek medical treatment

If no ambulance was called to the scene of the accident, you should seek medical care as soon as possible. Even if you do not believe you are injured, it is crucial that you see a doctor. Tell your physician that you were involved in a car crash so they know what to look for.

You may have hidden injuries, such as internal damage, brain injuries, or small fractures. These injuries may not be apparent at first, but they can progress and become harder to treat the longer you wait to seek treatment.

Your doctor will also be able to document all your injuries and the treatment you receive for them. This will be useful when building your case and calculating your damages. You will not be able to send a demand letter to the other party until you have finished treatment.

File an insurance claim

Even if you plan to file a personal injury claim against the other driver’s insurance company, you should still file a claim with your own car insurance provider. Utah law requires all insurance policies to include at least $3,000 of personal injury protection, otherwise known as PIP. PIP can help cover medical expenses, lost income, and funeral expenses (in the case of a fatality). Your own coverage may include more than the $3,000 minimum.

In order to file a claim with your insurance provider, you should have the following information handy:

  • Date, time, and location of your accident
  • Name and contact information of other driver
  • Other driver’s insurance and vehicle information
  • Police report number

If your medical expenses exceed $3,000, or you face permanent disability or disfigurement as a result of the accident, you can also file a claim against the other driver. If someone died in the accident, you may file a wrongful death suit.

Hire a Car Accident Lawyer

An auto accident attorney can provide you with legal advice and guidance throughout the entirety of your recovery. The Advocates will help you access medical care, get your car repaired, build your case, negotiate with insurance companies, and receive fair compensation for your damages.

The statute of limitations for car accident injuries in Utah is four years. After this length of time, you lose your ability to file a personal injury claim. Call The Advocates’ Utah car accident attorneys today to get started on the road to recovery. You deserve fair compensation for your injuries. You deserve an Advocate.

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