Our personal injury lawyers frequently handle car accidents in our home town of Columbia, MO. In most cases, the people in the car accidents are trying to learn about what they should have done at the scene and what they should do moving forward. These are two of the most popular questions we get.
Columbia is often filled with people that make it more likely to be involved in vehicle accident:
- Visitors unfamiliar with the traffic patterns.
- Students that only periodically use a car.
- School events that temporarily change traffic patterns, like homecoming.
- Sporting events changing traffic patterns temporarily.
- Lots of people on bicycles that don't always follow the rules of the road.
Here are a few things to consider if you get into a vehicle accident in Columbia, MO.
Don't Leave the Scene
First, don't leave the accident scene until the police let you know you can go. Unfortunately, at some time in our lives, most of us will experience an automobile accident. When you are in a car accident, even if you are not injured, there are certain things that you should and should not do. If you are a student late for an event, or the car is full of your intramural team; take a deep breath. Slow down. Wait for the police to show up and wait for them to tell you when it's time to leave. If you leave early, you are putting yourself in a bad legal situation that can be interpreted as a "hit and run" situation and which may imply that you were at fault in causing the accident.
Focus on any injured people
Try not to move any injured people. Call the police and let them know people are injured. Try to help safely warn approaching traffic through the use of flares or flashers on your car.
Try to get the following information and write it down
The other driver's
- Driver's License Number
- Insurance Information
- License Plate Number
Try to obtain the contact information from witnesses
Witnesses can come in handy to help verify what happened during the accident. Try to get their name, address and telephone numbers.
Ask the police officer for the incident number
Police officers will routinely offer a business card, or other document, with the incident number on it. This allows you to more easily get a copy of the accident report. If you don't receive this information, feel free to ask for it.
Try to take pictures of the damaged cars and property. This includes parts and sides that don't appear damaged. Also, consider taking pictures of the road conditions, and any temporary speed limit signs.
Tell the officer what happened. It is not your job to admit or determine fault.
Many times, there are factors that contribute to an accident that you may not be considering in that stressful hour following an accident. Many things can turn up during a lawsuit. If you have any doubt about whether you were injured, then don't tell everybody you're fine. This will make it harder for any claim or legal action you may want to take if you wake up the next day feeling horrible and in pain. Only speak with the police officers about the accident and to try to stick with the facts, while not trying to draw any conclusions for the officer. They are trained professionals. They will arrive at their own conclusions no matter what you say.
Get medical care soon
An auto accident can leave the participants full of adrenaline and stress. These can easily mask certain injuries common to accidents. Many people think they feel fine, only to realize later that they are stiff and sore and in pain.
Look out for memory loss, headaches, dizziness, or anything out of the ordinary for you.
As with physical injuries, head injuries can manifest after the adrenaline from the accident wears off. If you are having severe headaches, dizziness, memory loss, or the like, seek appropriate medical attention.
Get legal representation
Yes, this is a blog on a law firm's website. However, if you have suffered serious personal injury, severe or permanent in nature, a personal injury lawyer can be invaluable in assisting you in your claim. They can help give you a legal perspective on your situation and give you advice on what to do, and not do, to help things go the best they can for you. This will include tips on what paperwork to keep and how to respond to the other driver's insurance company. An insurance company will often unreasonably lowball your claim unless there is a realistic ability for you to file a lawsuit for your injuries and damages.
Whatever your legal challenge, we will listen to your concerns and answer your questions about likely outcomes and consequences.
Contact Holder, Susan, Slusher, Holder Susan Slusher, LLCtoday for a free consultation or case review. Mike Holder manages our personal injury area of the practice. While we are based in Columbia, MO across the street from the Boone County Court House, we help clients in several parts of Missouri.
The information on this web page does not provide legal advice and does not create an attorney- client relationship. If you believe you need legal advice, please contact an attorney directly.