We are quickly approaching the end of 2015. Where did time go? Like it or not, we are headed into busier schedules and colder weather. These finals months are filled with holiday cheer, shopping trips, and holiday plans with friends and family. Most people will get to their destinations in a vehicle. We need to be especially careful because as the seasons change, so does the weather. The crisp fall will turn into an icy and snowy winter. This change often leads to vehicle accidents. Of course, we can’t blame it all on Mother Nature. We are often distracted by children in the backseat, a random phone call or text message, or that long to-do list running through our minds.
This week in our second installment of the Sieben Edmunds PLLC Personal Injury Blog we will discuss what you should do if you get into a vehicle accident. We certainly hope that you never get into an accident, but you must be prepared if you do.
I was in a car accident. What should I do?
Minnesota law requires you to take certain actions when you are involved in a collision. You must stop at or near the scene of the accident to investigate what was struck and provide information to the other driver. If you are involved in an accident that involves bodily injury, death, or property damage, then you must notify law enforcement. A driver in accident involving injury or death, or property damage that appears to be in excess of $1,000, must also file an accident report with the Commissioner of Public Safety within 10 days.
Make sure that everyone in the vehicle is okay. Call 911 immediately if anyone needs medical attention. This is especially true if you or any of the passengers are seriously injured. If your injuries are minor, visit a medical provider as soon as possible to confirm that your symptoms will not become worse. An accident can instill fear and shock, but it’s important to remain calm.
If you are able, safely pull over to the side of the road and request help from law enforcement. They will ensure that everyone is safe by directing traffic around the accident site. Law enforcement will also create a report of all the relevant details of what happened. This document will serve as an important record that will be referred to by insurance companies in the future.
It is important to exchange as much information as possible with the other driver. You should note their contact, insurance, and license plate information. You will also want to make note of the location, time of day, and road conditions, and take pictures of the damage and surrounding accident site. Let your insurance company know about the accident so that they are on notice of a potential claim.
The next thing you need to consider is whether you should retain an attorney.
Am I required to hire an attorney?
No, but having an attorney by your side throughout this process is key to making sure that your legal rights are protected. When you are involved in an accident that involves a vehicle, you are entitled to certain protections under Minnesota’s No-Fault Act. This law provides Minnesotans with benefits that cover medical expenses, wage loss, mileage, and replacement services. Retaining an experienced attorney will ensure that you get all the available benefits afforded to you by that act.
At some point the insurance companies will try to sort out who is liable for the accident. They will try doing this by obtaining statements from the parties and reviewing evidence. It is important to avoid making any statements. Insurance companies may also try to have you sign documents that waive certain rights. It is just as important to avoid signing any document without having an attorney thoroughly review it.
At Sieben Edmunds Miller PLLC, we want to make sure that you are being treated fairly and that you get the compensation you deserve. We are often willing to represent you on a contingency-fee basis. This means that you get aggressive legal representation without the up-front cost of paying legal fees. More importantly, you are able to tend to your injuries while we sort out the paperwork and issues of liability.
Let us handle the legal side of your accident so that you can focus on healing and enjoying the holiday season. Contact the motor vehicle accident lawyers Eagan, Minnesota at Sieben Edmunds PLLC at 651-994-6744 for more information.