The confusion created by a car crash begins at the moment of impact and may continue for a long time. You can minimize the stress and disruption to your life by knowing what to do immediately after a crash and in the weeks and months that follow your accident.

Your Wisconsin Car Accident Checklist

After a crash, we encourage you to:

  1. Try to stay calm and survey the injuries. By assessing your injuries and the injuries of others in the crash, you will be better able to help emergency personnel when they arrive on the scene.
  2. Call the police. Even if the damage seems minor, a police report can protect you and be used if you choose to file suit against the other driver. Request that the responding officers make an accident report. An accident report should document injuries, damage to the vehicles, and the insurance information of those involved. If the police do not respond to the scene of the accident, you should file an accident report at the police station closest to the accident scene. 
  3. Do what you can to prevent a secondary accident. You may need to warn other vehicles of the crash until the police can get there to help direct traffic. For example, you may put your hazard lights and headlights on, open your hood and trunk, and place cones, reflective triangles, or flares around the vehicles if you have them and it is safe to do so.
  4. DO NOT discuss the accident with anyone. If you talk about the crash to witnesses, the other driver, or the insurance company, you may accidentally implicate yourself and be held responsible for the accident. This can occur even if you were NOT at fault. Others may twist your statements and hold you liable.
  5. If possible, record all evidence from the accident scene. The evidence may include pictures, videos, addresses, phone numbers, insurance information, names and numbers of witnesses, a description of the other car, and its license plate number. If you think it may be important, write it down.
  6. Get medical attention. Medical care is critical even if you don't think you're hurt. An accurate diagnosis can help prevent your injuries from worsening and can help you manage your pain. Additionally, a prompt diagnosis helps establish that your injuries were caused by the accident, which will be essential to your legal recovery.
  7. Call a family member or friend. Let someone help you through the immediate steps you need to take after a crash.
  8. Call your insurance agent. Though we advise not speaking with the other driver's insurance company, it is important that you call your agent right away to report the accident. However, you should not talk about the crash's potential causes or any other accident details with your insurer.
  9. Continue your medical treatment. You may need additional medical treatment to treat your injuries. If you fail to get this treatment, it could impact your prognosis and legal case.
  10. Do not get your car fixed yet. Your car may be significant evidence in your case. Accordingly, you should talk to your personal injury lawyer before your vehicle is fixed.
  11. Keep documentation of medical appointments, lost time from work or school, and other ways the crash impacted your daily life. This documentation may be essential evidence of your damages.
  12. Contact an experienced car accident lawyer. An attorney will help you avoid mistakes with the insurance company and ensure that you are compensated for any losses, property damage, and medical expenses. Whether you are a Wisconsin resident or live out of state, our Wisconsin car accident lawyers can help you protect your right to a fair recovery after a Wisconsin crash.

The steps that you take after a Wisconsin car crash are generally the same as the steps that you would take after a car accident in any state. However, the laws and procedures for getting a fair recovery are unique in every state.

Accordingly, we encourage you to contact an experienced Wisconsin car crash lawyer for a free consultation. We would be happy to meet with you in our Milwaukee, Appleton, Green Bay, Madison, or Wausau offices, in your home or hospital room, or by phone or video chat.

 

Jason F. Abraham
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Managing Partner, Hupy and Abraham