WHAT TO DO FOLLOWING A CAR ACCIDENT IN MONTANA Car accidents are a leading cause of death around the world. Every day thousands of people perish in preventable auto accidents - and many more suffer life-changing catastrophic injuries. The most common cause of traffic accidents is human error. Distracted, careless, and reckless drivers cause accidents from which many will never fully recover. Other car accidents stem from manufacturer error and defective vehicle products, while still others result from improper roadway maintenance.
In all these cases, car accident victims have an ally in Ragain & Cook, P.C. Our Billings car accident attorneys know how to analyze a case, determine the defendant, and fight for the settlements our clients deserve. The law has a system in place to help car accident victims recover damages from responsible parties. Our lawyers have more than 40 years' experience navigating this system and helping our clients earn compensation. To discuss your case with an experienced attorney, contact us today.
WHAT TO DO FOLLOWING A CAR ACCIDENT IN MONTANA
Knowing what actions to take immediately after a car accident can help you stay calm and in control of the situation. There are certain things you should do to help yourself and improve your case should you choose to file a personal injury claim. Keep a checklist of what to do after an accident in your vehicle's glove compartment, so that in an accident you don't have to rely on your memory. Here are the steps our experienced attorneys recommend:
1. Never drive away after an accident. You have a legal duty to stay on scene and make sure everyone is okay. Even minor accidents require everyone involved to stop and assess the damages before leaving.
2. Prevent further harm. Do as much as you can to make the scene of the accident safe for other vehicles passing by, to avoid further collisions or a pileup. If possible, move disabled vehicles to the side of the highway. Put your emergency flashers on and set up cones or flares if you have them.
3. Dial 911. Call the police as soon as you are in a safe location. It is wise to always report a car crash, no matter how minor. An official police report is important for insurance claims. If anyone is injured, say so to the police.
4. Do not admit fault. Do not tell the other driver the accident was your fault, even if you believe it was. Wait for the police to arrive and give details to the officer. The police can help determine who may be at fault. The other driver may have been partially to blame for the crash as well, or a dangerous road condition such as a malfunctioning traffic light may be responsible. WHAT TO DO FOLLOWING A CAR ACCIDENT IN MONTANA, Cont'd 5. Gather information.
Record important information such as the other driver's name, contact number, insurance card, and license plate numbers. Take photos of the scene of the accident if you can, getting pictures of all vehicles involved, property damage, personal injuries, and views of the street where the accident occurred. If there are any roadside hazards such as debris in the road that may have contributed to the crash, photograph these as well.
6. Be as detailed as possible in your report. When the police ask you what happened, give as much detail as you can. Do not misstate facts or speculate. Stick to the truth as you know it, and explain what happened to the best of your ability. When asked if you are injured, do not say no if you are not sure. State that you need to see a medical professional to check for injuries. The more information you can relay to the officer while the crash is still fresh in your memory, the better.
7. Call your insurance company. Obtain a copy of the police report and call your insurance company to report the accident. Most car insurance policies require immediate accident reporting. Your insurer will give you details about your personal injury and property damage coverage. Give the number of the police report to your insurance representative.
8. Seek medical attention. After any car accident, visit a physician and inform him or her of what happened. Even if you don't feel injured, you may have sustained a head, brain, or spinal cord injury that has not yet shown symptoms. This is common in injuries such as concussions. Seeing a doctor right away will help if you have to file a personal injury claim. Delaying treatment can make it seem to a judge or jury that your injuries weren't serious enough to seek help.
9. Keep a file of car crash documents. Keep an organized file with documents related to your auto accident. This should include a copy of the official police report, information and photos you gathered from the scene, as well as medical records, treatments your doctor prescribes, and all bills relating to your accident. Keeping this information together can help the claims process run smoother.
10. Protect your rights. Once you've notified the police and your insurance company about the accident and received medical attention for injuries, contact a personal injury attorney. Keep the number for Ragain & Cook, P.C., on speed dial - (406) 651-8888. Our attorneys can help you protect your rights and make sure no one destroys valuable evidence in your case. Always seek legal advice before giving statements to insurance companies or accepting their settlement offers.
At Ragain & Cook, P.C., we can help you understand complex state and local car accident laws in Billings, Montana. You have three years from the date of the traffic accident to file a personal injury claim in Montana. Montana is a modified comparative negligence state, meaning it is possible to earn compensation even if you were partially at fault for a car wreck. Speak to our attorneys after a crash to fully understand your rights and options moving forward.