What to Do After Car Accident. If you are in an auto accident in Minnesota, make sure to do these things:
Turn off your vehicle. You don’t know the full extent of the damage to your car – reduce the risk of fire and further injury by moving to the side of the road and turning off your engine.
Warn other drivers. Activate your four-way flashers immediately and, if available, use flares or reflective devices to alert others of your stopped vehicle.
Don’t move injured persons. It is generally better to keep an injured person stationary until qualified medical personnel arrive, unless that person is in danger because of fire, traffic, or other emergency situation.
Call the police. It is critical that the police or State Patrol are called to the scene, even in situations where it does not appear there was much damage to the cars and/or no one appears to be injured. Hopefully, the police will write an accident report, interview witnesses, and verify the drivers’ insurance information. Cooperate with the responding officer by answering his or her questions simply and directly, and with only the facts that you personally know and observed. Be truthful.
Exchange driver and vehicle information. Minnesota law mandates that drivers involved in an auto accident provide their name, address, date of birth, vehicle registration number, proof of ownership, name and address of automobile insurance company and proof of insurance. Even in accidents with little or no vehicle damage, it is imperative that this information be exchanged. Also write down the license plate number of the other car. Our auto accident lawyers have handled many cases where the other driver gave false information, so the license plate number can be crucial.
Get the names and contact information of witnesses. Unfortunately, the police report does not always identify all of the eyewitnesses to the accident, either because the witnesses leave the scene before the police arrive, or the officer simply chooses not to take down their information. Therefore, if possible, you should obtain the names, addresses and phone numbers of any persons who witnessed the accident. This can be very helpful if the cause of the crash becomes an issue later, even if you think it is obvious and the police agree with you at the accident scene.
Don’t admit fault. Make no apologies or admit fault to anyone, even the police. You may not know all of the facts that contributed to the collision. Truthfully answer law enforcement’s questions about what you saw and did, but don’t draw any conclusions about fault. A thorough investigation may show that you were not the cause of the crash.
Consult a doctor if you are experiencing pain or other symptoms. Your medical needs should be your highest priority, and any pain or discomfort should not be ignored. Make sure to describe all your symptoms to your doctor, and completely and honestly answer all of his or her questions.
Contact our office before calling your insurance company. Our personal injury lawyers will explain your rights, offer you advice on what information to provide your insurance company (such as whether to give them a recorded statement), how to get your medical bills paid, and how to obtain compensation for any damage to your vehicle. Your conversation with us will be confidential regardless of whether you ultimately have a case we can handle for you. Our car accident lawyers have over 25 years’ experience handling hundreds of cases throughout Minnesota.