The actions you take after a Connecticut car accident can impact the rest of your life. If you make a mistake, you could sabotage your chances of getting fair compensation. Wise decisions, however, can maximize your odds of a favorable outcome.
With so much at stake, getting a trustworthy legal opinion is worthwhile, and our law firm makes getting the information you need easy and fast. At Gould Injury Law, we aim to provide you with customized advice. Call (888) WIN-FAST to schedule your free consultation at your earliest convenience.
In the meantime, the convenient guide below will give you some fast suggestions to set yourself up for success. Learn now what you should do if you were in a motor vehicle accident in Connecticut.
If Someone is Injured
In Connecticut, it is illegal to leave the scene of an accident. You can relocate your car to a spot nearby if necessary. If you cannot drive your vehicle, put the emergency flashers on and stand somewhere safe.
Next, assess yourself and others for injuries. Call 911 for assistance if someone is hurt or unconscious.
Unless there is a fire or other extraordinary circumstance, do not try to move an injured person. Emergency personnel are trained to render assistance without causing more harm.
If No One Was Hurt
After a traumatic event, stress hormones like adrenaline can mask pain. Furthermore, some injuries do not display immediate or apparent symptoms.
Accident victims should also get professional medical attention after an accident, especially if:
- They hit their head
- The airbag struck their face
- The force of the accident jerked their body
- They passed out even briefly
- They are bleeding or in pain
Therefore, get yourself checked out for injuries even if you feel fine. You should also involve the traffic authorities to make a report of the accident. The police can document the scene and even issue traffic tickets if the at-fault party broke the law.
For example, the number of drivers in Connecticut who report driving after drinking too much is higher than the national average. An impaired person might not show visible signs of intoxication, but a police officer can test blood alcohol level or administer a field sobriety test.
This report could provide crucial evidence for your accident claim. For instance, the other party’s insurer could accuse you of exaggerating the severity of your property damage or injuries. Without an official record, proving you are telling the truth can be difficult.
To Ensure You Receive Accurate Information
Once you have called for help or if no one was hurt, exchange names and phone numbers with everyone else involved in the accident. Unfortunately, some people will try to give you false details to avoid responsibility later for reasons such as:
- Outstanding warrants for their arrest
- Suspended or expired driver’s licenses or insurance policies
- The lack of a driver’s license or insurance policy
What can you do to verify the facts?
- You can dial telephone numbers or send text messages right away to see if it works
- If the person has a smartphone, have him or her send you an email so you can check the address
- Ask for the other driver’s license so you can write down the name and ID number. Compare the picture to the driver. While you have it, you can also see if the dates are valid.
- Ask to see the vehicle registration since the person operating the car might not own it. Anyone can drive a vehicle with the owner’s permission, yet knowing who was actually behind the wheel could be essential to your case.
- For most serious accidents, drivers depend on their insurance policies to pay for damages. Even if the other driver offers to pay out of pocket, you should copy his or her insurance carrier’s name, policy number, and agent number.
IMPORTANT: Even if you recall every detail, the other party could challenge your memory of the event. Thus, photographs are vital to establishing the facts of a claim.
Snapping a few shots of each side of the road is a good idea. Often businesses and homes have security cameras. Your lawyers can use this footage as support to prove your claim.
Take pictures of:
- License plates and the make and model of the car
- The position of vehicles after the accident (even if you moved your cars)
- A full-body shot of the vehicles
- Close-ups of scratches, dents, broken glass or mirrors
- Property damage to buildings, fences, landscaping, or guardrails
- Deployed airbags
- Skid marks, snow, mud, or ice
- Road conditions that contributed to the accident (e.g. damaged guardrails, missing or broken traffic signs and lights, road obstructions like debris or potholes)
- Property damage inside your car
- Injuries (with the consent of the victim)
You can use flash if it is too dark for certain details, such as the color of the involved vehicles. You can also use your smartphone to capture video and audio evidence.
If the Other Motorist Does Not Have Insurance
Though having insurance is the law in Connecticut, you cannot assume that every driver complies. You should be careful if the person seems reluctant to involve the police or insurance companies. He or she could have questionable motives.
If you registered your vehicle in Connecticut, you had to provide proof of insurance meeting specific requirements. In particular, your policy should cover uninsured (UM) and underinsured motorists (UIM). Let’s define those terms.
- UIM: Out-of-state motorists and other drivers who have insurance but whose policy limits are lower than the total cost of your losses
- UM: People driving without the protection of insurance and those whose identity is unknown (i.e. someone who left the scene of the accident without providing contact information)
Standard Connecticut coverage covers:
- The policyholder
- Family members living in the same house
As a registered motorist, you should have coverage of at least $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident. However, if you purchased additional coverage, you could be eligible for double your bodily injury liability limit.
Understanding insurance papers on your own can be time-consuming and confusing. If you want fast answers to your questions, click “Start Chat” on your screen to consult with a live agent.
Why You Should Contact a Lawyer ASAP?
You might wonder whether taking these actions is as urgent as they sound. Yes, because insurance companies might not waste time trying to discredit your claim.
Though you might be tempted to rely on your insurance company, remember that they might not be entirely on your side. If you use your UM/UIM coverage, they could owe you thousands of dollars.
From the very beginning, your insurance agent could be making notes of everything you say and do. Even a casual statement like “I never saw them coming” could be held against you later. The last thing you want to happen is to cast doubt on who was at fault for the collision.
Before speaking to an insurer, why not get some useful counsel from experienced professionals with your best interests at heart? Other attorneys might charge you for your initial consultation, but “The Fast Firm” will not.
At the same time, do not wait too long. Most insurance providers set a time limit on how long you have to inform them of a car accident. You will need to act fast to make sure you don’t miss a deadline.
If fault is unclear or insurers refuse to cooperate, attorneys might need to defend your claim using personal injury law. In these legal claims, the victim must prove that someone’s negligence led to an accident.
We collect many different types of evidence to fortify our client’s legal cases:
- Real: Tangible objects such as car parts gathered from the road
- Demonstrative: Models and digital recreations to recreate the accident or the scene of the event
- Documentary: Paperwork and records that relate to the incident
- Testimonial: Statements from witnesses and experts
Our attorneys work aggressively and fast to gather and preserve evidence like:
- Eyewitness and expert witness testimony
- Medical records
- Photographs and videos, including those from third parties
- Incident reports
- Public records
- Proof of lost income
As you can imagine, some proof takes a while to obtain. Reaching out to us without delay maximizes our fast-acting lawyers’ time to build an ironclad defense.
Boost Results and Minimize Stress
The day of a car accident can seem like a blur. Remembering every step can be challenging when you are stressed and in pain.
At Gould Injury Law, we welcome your call from “day one.” We can walk you through collecting evidence and dealing with insurers. Having fast, efficient support after a traumatic event can go a long way toward easing your worries.
Members of our team are available for you around the clock. If your injuries or circumstances prevent you from coming to one of our WIN FAST locations in New Haven or Hartford, we can send someone to you.
Not only is your first appointment free, but you also owe nothing unless we get money for you. Start a chat session now or call (888) WIN-FAST to learn how Connecticut car accident lawyers who care about you can help you get fast results.