What to Do After a Car Accident Injury: A Step-by-Step Guide

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From crowded interstates to slick road conditions, Colorado drivers should know there’s always a possibility of getting into a car accident. In the worst-case scenario, someone’s negligence could leave you with serious consequences like a traumatic brain injury, a spinal cord injury, or even death. 

If you find yourself in a serious car crash that injures you or a loved one, you need to know what to do immediately following the auto accident to best protect yourself. Though the aftermath of a serious car accident can be chaotic and stressful, working with a trusted personal injury attorney can provide you with the personal guidance and legal expertise you need to get the full compensation you may be entitled to. 

The exact circumstances of each car accident will vary, though the following guidelines should give you a good idea of how to proceed in this situation. 

Step 1: Get to Safety and Contact Emergency Services

Immediately following a crash, get yourself to safety. If possible, move your vehicle out of traffic to avoid additional collisions or posing a hazard to other drivers. 

If you are unable to drive the car or you believe it would be too dangerous to do so, get to the side of the road and call for emergency services if they haven’t already been contacted. 

Let the operator know where you are located so they can quickly respond and administer medical care as needed. 

While you’re calling the police, don’t discuss fault, blame the other driver, or take the blame yourself. You should only provide the necessary information to the operator for first responders to arrive promptly. 

Step 2: Exchange Information

With help on the way, exchange information with the other driver involved, even if your injuries or vehicle damage appear minor. 

This includes their name, phone number, insurance carrier, and policy number. If the other motorist is deemed at fault, you’ll need their insurance information to file a personal injury claim with their provider and recover potential damages. Of course, provide your details if requested by the other driver. 

Step 3: Take Your Own Photos

If your injuries allow, take your own photos of the accident scene. These photos can help you build a case and prove fault should you proceed with a personal injury claim. Aside from documenting vehicle damage, you may want to capture photos of other evidence, including: 

  • The other vehicle’s license plate
  • Debris left on the road
  • Tire tracks or skid marks

Keep in mind – you should not enter the other vehicle, nor should you move any evidence. Doing so could compromise the investigation and work in the other driver’s favor. 

Step 4: Cooperate with Law Enforcement

When the police arrive, make sure to remain calm, and provide clear details about the crash. Be aware that if you admit fault to a police officer, medical professional, or other involved party, it could limit your ability to recover damages from insurance. 

Alongside the information you requested from the other motorist, be sure to write down or take a photo of the police officer’s badge number following your interaction. 

Step 5: Get Medical Treatment

There is a wide possibility of injuries you could receive from a car accident, including concussions, soft tissue injuries like bruises, whiplash, neck and spine injuries, broken bones, lacerations, and internal bleeding or tissue damage. 

Medical personnel will likely arrive on the scene to assess any such injuries. Emergency responders will examine you to determine the extent of your injuries and provide any necessary treatment. 

If necessary, a medical professional on the scene may recommend additional care. This can include visiting a medical center on your own for a follow-up or riding in an ambulance to the nearest facility for immediate care. 

Be aware that not all injuries from a car accident will appear immediately. Some may take hours or days to appear, so keep an eye on how you are feeling in the following days, even if you feel fine immediately after the accident. If you start to suspect an injury in the following days, seek out an examination from a trained medical professional to avoid any long-term complications or further bodily damage.  

Step 6: Keep Detailed Medical Records

In the following days after the crash, make sure to document any new symptoms and keep detailed tabs on any changes you go through during recovery. These details can be important pieces of evidence in your personal injury claim or litigation. 

Request your medical records for any care you received for accident-related injuries. This should include any doctor’s or nurse’s notes, x-rays, prescribed medications, and other pertinent details. 

Keep all of these records organized so they can easily be shared with your attorney while they’re building your claim. If possible, make all your notes dated and well-detailed so your attorney can make the strongest case. 

Step 7: Consult with a Car Accident Lawyer

When your injuries allow, consider meeting with a Denver car accident lawyer like Sandene Law to discuss your situation. Though your recovery can be a long journey, the sooner you’re able to meet with an attorney, the sooner they’ll be able to work on a claim and help you recover damages to pay for your costly medical bills, vehicle repairs, and other expenses related to the accident. 

Our team has expertise in the local and state tort laws related to car accidents and over a decade of experience successfully representing car accident victims against the tricky tactics of major insurance companies. 

If you were injured in a car accident, we will thoroughly review the details of your case and provide you with the best course of action based on your circumstances. This includes all the evidence, photos, and medical records you have collected and stored so far. If necessary, we will request the police report for the crash and do further investigation to prove the fault or negligence of the other driver. 

If we believe you have a just claim, we will work diligently to help you achieve a fair result and fight back against the insurance industry giants. 

Step 8: Contact Your Insurance Provider

Following the accident, you should also contact your car insurance provider to inform them of the accident, ideally after you’ve met with a personal injury attorney so you know how to best proceed. 

Make sure you provide them with the contact details of the other driver and their insurance company. Your insurance claims adjuster can contact the other driver’s insurance to start negotiating a financial resolution. 

Step 9: Decide How to Proceed Legally

Based on all the steps you’ve gone through so far, you can now decide how you want to proceed legally. Depending on who was deemed at fault, you have a few different legal options available to you, which a personal injury attorney can help you understand with more clarity. 

For example, your attorney may recommend filing a personal injury claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company, negotiating with the company to ensure you receive the compensation you’re entitled to, and filing a lawsuit if they fail to come to a fair settlement. 

Assessing the unique circumstances of your case, your lawyer should provide you with a personalized recommendation for the best legal recourse that will lead to a just resolution. 

If you or a loved one was injured in a car crash caused by another driver’s negligence and you’re looking for an experienced Denver car accident attorney – we want to hear from you. Contact us today for a free consultation.


What are some common mistakes people make after being involved in a car accident that could jeopardize their ability to receive compensation?

Common mistakes after a car accident include admitting fault, delaying medical attention, insufficient evidence collection, and tardy communication with insurance companies, which could hinder full compensation prospects.

How long does it typically take to resolve a personal injury claim related to a car accident, and what factors can affect the timeline?

The duration of resolving a personal injury claim varies depending on case complexity, injury severity, insurance cooperation, and trial involvement, spanning from several months to years.

Are there any specific deadlines or statutes of limitations that someone should be aware of when filing a personal injury claim after a car accident in Colorado?

In Colorado, there’s typically a two-year statute of limitations for filing personal injury claims after car accidents, underscoring the importance of timely legal action to avoid forfeiture of compensation rights.

How can a person determine if they need legal representation for their car accident case, and what are the advantages of hiring a personal injury attorney?

Deciding on legal representation after a car accident hinges on case specifics, but consulting a personal injury attorney is advisable for guidance, negotiation, and potential court representation to safeguard individual interests.

In addition to medical expenses and vehicle repairs, what other types of damages can someone potentially claim in a personal injury lawsuit following a car accident?

Alongside medical expenses and vehicle repairs, potential damages in a personal injury lawsuit may encompass lost wages, pain and suffering, emotional distress, loss of consortium, and punitive damages, tailored to each case’s circumstances.

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