What to do if You're Involved in a Car Accident


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In 2016, there were 62,471 reported traffic crashes on public roadways in Utah.  Utah Department of Public Safety, Highway Safety Office. Utah Crash Summary 2016.  These traffic accidents involved 158,417 people total, with 26,738 injured and 281 people killed.  Id.

With so many drivers on Utah roads, car accidents are common.  However, not many people know what to do when they get in a car accident.  So, what steps should you take if you are involved in a car accident?

1.  Gather information.

Write down all involved drivers’ full names, addresses, telephone numbers, license plate numbers, insurance information, and the makes and models of each vehicle involved.  Take a picture of all other drivers’ insurance cards so you can easily access that information.  Also write down the location of the accident.  Finally, write down the contact information for any eyewitnesses at the scene.

2.  Take photos of the scene.

Most people have a smartphone with a camera, so make sure you take photos of the accident scene from several angles and of each car involved.

3.  Call the police.

Many people ignore this important step, especially in minor accidents.  Even if there are no serious injuries, you should still call the police.  A police report is a useful tool that helps document the circumstances of the accident and the extent of the property damage.  A police report can also provide a preliminary assessment of fault, which may convince an insurance company to accept responsibility.  Furthermore, a police report can help protect you from being wrongfully blamed for the accident.

4.  Contact a personal injury attorney.

Perhaps the most important step to take after a car accident is consulting with an experienced personal injury attorney.  An attorney can help protect your rights and guide you through what can often be a confusing and frustrating process with insurance companies.  Not every car accident or personal injury case requires an attorney, but a consultation will help you know what steps to take next.  Often, insurance companies will attempt to take your statement after an accident.  It is important that you speak with an attorney before speaking with any insurance company.  The insurance company’s goal is to pay as little as possible for your claim.  In addition to communicating with insurance companies, attorneys can often provide information about reliable healthcare providers and chiropractors to assist in your treatment.

Many firms, including ours, take personal injury cases on a contingency fee basis, which means there is no legal fee unless the attorney recovers compensation for your injuries.  The attorneys at Kesler & Rust are experienced in handling personal injury cases in Utah.  Contact us if you have any questions about your car accident.  

5.  Get treated immediately for any potential injuries.

Do not decline or postpone treatment after an accident.  If you are seriously injured, emergency personnel may come to the scene and transport you to a hospital for treatment.  However, in a seemingly minor car accident, there may not be visible injuries or immediate pain or discomfort.  Often, individuals involved in car accidents do not know they have been injured because endorphins and adrenaline can sometimes mask pain until the body starts to recover from the stress of an accident.  It can sometimes take hours or even days to feel the symptoms of an injury after a car accident.  If emergency personnel arrive at the scene and offer treatment, do not decline it.  If no emergency personnel arrive, it is still important to get proper treatment soon after a car accident.  In addition, make sure you are consistent with any recommended or prescribed treatment until your doctor releases you.  A doctor is in the best position to determine how seriously you are injured and to prescribe the best treatment to help with your recovery.  Also, your doctor’s records of your visits are the best way to document the extent of your injuries.

6.  Document everything.

Write down everything you can remember about the accident soon after it happens.  It is also important to document what happens after the accident.  Did you miss any work due to your injuries?  What recommendations or restrictions did your doctor or chiropractor make?  Is there any daily or recreational activity, routine exercise, or hobby you can no longer enjoy due to your injuries?  Documenting how the accident has affected your daily lifestyle can help ensure you are properly compensated for all your damages.


If you are involved in a car accident, the personal injury attorneys at Kesler & Rust will be able to evaluate your case and determine what steps you should take to ensure that your rights are protected.