Car accidents happen – and living in a society that so values independent transportation and personal ownership means that these accidents will continue to happen. Those of us that have lived in Salt Lake City, Utah, for a while have come to recognize that Utah roads can be treacherous, especially in winter. We all do what we can to avoid these hazards and the accidents that come with them, but sometimes, even despite our best efforts, we cannot. If you or a loved one has been involved in an accident, it is essential that immediately take the right steps to protect yourself and your interests. When an accident does happen, there are several guidelines that it is advisable to follow, no matter how minor the accident may seem.
Steps following a car crash
- Contact the police! (Many people do not do this and later regret it).
- Do not admit fault, or say you are sorry after the accident – this can be construed as an admission of fault, even if you were not to blame.
- Do not talk to the other drivers, other than to find out if they are injured.
- Take pictures of where the cars are, and the condition of the cars – it may be beneficial when the police arrive, or in court later, if it comes to that.
- Make sure you evaluate if you have been injured, and let the police know that you need to be checked out, even if you don’t feel any different or may only have gotten a few bruises or scrapes.
- Keep detailed records of every event, no matter how small, that is related to the accident.
Insurance companies in Utah can be very difficult to work with
They know that Utah is a conservative state when it comes to property damage and injury awards resulting from auto accidents. However, if you have been injured, remember that under Utah Law, you have what is called Personal Injury Protection Insurance (often referred to simply as “PIP”) as a part of your policy. Your insurance will cover at least the first $3,000 of medical care, which usually covers an ambulance ride and/or an emergency room visit. If the other driver is later found to be at fault for the accident, your insurance company is likely to be paid back through a process called subrogation for any expenses they incur on your behalf because of the auto accident.
Some people choose to involve an attorney early on, while others wait until they are unable to deal with the insurance company any longer. Insurance companies follow some of the same strategies as attorneys when it comes to dealing with insurance problems, including keeping lots of detailed records. If you want to keep the playing field level, then you would be wise to do the same, and involving an attorney who knows how insurance companies work would be even wiser.