FAQ: Protecting yourself legally after an accident

Contacting insurance companies and cooperating with law enforcement are two important steps to take after a crash.

Every day, countless people are involved in car accidents in Connecticut and throughout the country. These range from minor fender-benders to major collisions causing serious injury or death. After an accident, people may be confused about what to do next. Their actions in the moments following the crash, as well as in the weeks to come, may help or hinder their legal protection. The following tips about what to do after an accident are provided by State Farm insurance.

What should I do immediately after a crash?

After a minor to moderate motor vehicle crash, it is important to move the vehicles out of traffic to reduce the chances of further collisions. The shoulder is usually sufficient and keeps the vehicles close enough to the crash scene so investigators can determine who was at fault. Those involved should check for injuries and call an ambulance if necessary. Law enforcement should also be contacted, no matter how minor the accident seems. It is also important to note that injuries may not be apparent until a day or two after the crash, especially pain caused from whiplash. If an ambulance wasn't involved, it may be wise to see a doctor as soon as possible to rule out any unknown injuries.

What information should I provide, and to whom?

Generally, each driver should provide the others with their contact and insurance information. While waiting for law enforcement, it is important not to say any more than necessary. Apologizing for the accident, no matter how polite it may seem, can be seen as an admission of fault. When police arrive, they should be provided with information about the crash. Providing a thorough statement is helpful to investigators. The insurance company should also be apprised of the situation, and will require details. It may also help to get contact information from any witnesses who are willing to provide statements.

How else can I defend my claim?

One of the most important things drivers can do to protect themselves legally is to always have current motor vehicle insurance. Every driver in Connecticut is required to have a minimum of liability insurance, according to the State of Connecticut Insurance Department. Even if an uninsured driver was not at fault in a crash, he or she faces serious penalties for driving without insurance.

Seeking the assistance of an experienced personal injury attorney is another important step in defending a personal injury claim. Attorneys have experience dealing with insurance companies, law enforcement and other entities following a crash.