It is normal to feel scared or confused after a serious car accident in Kansas City. You may be nursing serious injuries, facing expensive medical costs or reeling from the death of a loved one. The other driver might be refusing to admit fault even though you know you did not cause the accident. Learn how to recover financially for your car accident by taking the correct steps.
Remain at the Scene
It is against the law to leave the scene of an accident you were involved in before fulfilling your duties as a driver. Your duties include stopping as close to the scene of the accident as possible, asking if anyone has any injuries, exchanging information with the other driver, and calling 911 if the crash caused injuries, deaths or expensive property damage. You must report a crash to the police if it caused more than $500 in property damage in Missouri or $1,000 in Kansas.
Driving away from the scene of an accident without fulfilling these duties could constitute the crime of hit-and-run. The penalties for a hit-and-run can include a misdemeanor/felony conviction, hefty fines, mandatory community service and jail time. If you hit a parked vehicle, you must still stop at the scene and leave your information for the vehicle owner to find. General information to exchange is your name, address, phone number and insurance information.
Do Not Admit Fault
Your first instinct may be to try to smooth things over and avoid confrontation with the other driver by apologizing. Resist the urge to say you are sorry, however. The other driver could construe an apology as you admitting fault for the accident. Remain polite and calm, but not apologetic. Do not worry if the other driver does not admit fault, either. This is normal advice most car insurance companies give their policyholders. Neither party must admit fault for a car accident before an official investigation.
Give Police Your Side of the Story
It is important to speak your piece once the police arrive at the scene. The other driver may have a different version of events than you do. Telling the police what you believe happened could give them another side of the story to investigate. Wait your turn and cooperate with the police investigation. Then, describe what happened in as much detail as possible. The police will create an official record of the car accident for future reference.
Try to gather certain pieces of evidence yourself while still at the scene of the crash. If you have to leave the scene to get emergency medical care, a loved one may be able to collect information for you.
The other driver’s name and information
A description of both vehicles
Police report number
Photographs of the scene of the accident
Photographs of property damage or injuries
Names and information of any eyewitnesses
The police will usually gather evidence on your behalf; however, it will only strengthen your claim to collect some evidence yourself. Taking what you collect to a car accident lawyer could help you settle a case for better compensation.
Get Medical Care
Delaying medical care could hurt your odds of obtaining compensation from the at-fault party. An insurance company may deny coverage if you waited too long to see a doctor for accident-related injuries or physical pain. Visit an emergency room immediately for any noticeable injuries. Even if you do not feel injured, go to your doctor for a checkup. Some injuries, including serious brain injuries, may have delayed symptoms.
Request a Legal Evaluation
Personal injury attorneys in Kansas City offer free accident evaluations for your benefit. Consult with an attorney to learn more about your rights moving forward. You could have a negligence-based lawsuit against the other driver, a vehicle manufacturer or another party. A successful lawsuit could yield greater compensation than an insurance claim alone. Navigating the laws in Kansas or Missouri is much easier when you hire a personal injury lawyer.