5 Top Questions for When a Car Accident Occurs

January 13, 2021  |  Adriel B. Villarreal

According to a report published by the Minnesota Department of Public Safety Office of the Commissioner, 80,636 traffic crashes occurred in the state of Minnesota in 2019. These car accidents, involving 148,774 vehicles, resulted in 364 deaths; 27,260 people suffered injuries. Unfortunately, traffic crashes—ranging from minor spinouts and fender benders to multiple-vehicle events with numerous injuries and fatalities—occur daily. We’ve put together 5 top questions for when a car accident occurs.

1. What information do I need after a car accident occurs?

With any motor vehicle incident, you’ll first want to ensure the safety of all involved, provide reasonable assistance to any injured parties, and seek medical treatment for yourself if necessary. After that point, it’s important to collect contact and insurance information from anyone else involved. This includes the driver’s full name and address, the name and address of vehicle owner (if different), driver’s license information, and insurance documentation. Collect names and contact information of any passengers or others involved in the crash. If there are any witnesses, gather their names and phone numbers as well. Once the police arrive, write down names and badge numbers.

You should also document the following information for all vehicles: make, model, and year; license plate number with expiration date; and the vehicle identification number (VIN).

If possible, write down as many details as you can about what occurred while it is still fresh in your memory. Take photos and video. You may even want to draw a diagram of the accident. Speak to witnesses about anything they saw as well.

2. Should I file a police report?

In Minnesota, you must call 911 after a crash, even for seemingly minor incidents such as fender benders or hitting an unattended vehicle. The dispatcher will send police or other emergency responders as necessary. Be sure to ask for a copy of the police report. In addition, you will need to file a report with Driver and Vehicle Services within 10 days if the crash has resulted in injury, death, or total property damage of $1,000 or more.

3. Should I seek medical treatment?

If emergency medical personnel respond to the scene of the crash, you should not refuse treatment or an exam, even if you don’t suspect an injury. Be sure to report any pain or other symptom, no matter how mild. Oftentimes, car accident injuries are not immediately noticeable, with symptoms occurring hours or even days later. Allow paramedics to transport you to the hospital if they recommend this. If you do not need acute care, see a medical provider as soon as possible. It’s very important to seek medical treatment after an accident should your insurance company question the validity of your claim.

4. Do I need to report the accident to my insurance company even if no injuries occurred?

Yes, you must file a claim with your insurance company for all accidents, even if there are no injuries or the accident was not your fault. You must also cooperate with any subsequent investigations of the accident. Ultimately, when you file a claim with your insurance company, you are protecting yourself if the other driver or anyone else involved in the accident blames you for the crash or later reports injuries related to the crash. This is especially important should the other party hire an attorney, who will contact your insurance company.

Failure to report an accident to your insurance company may result in higher rates or even cancelation of your policy.

5. Should I call an attorney to assist with my case?

As you can see by the previous four questions, navigating the aftermath of a crash can be stressful, confusing, and overwhelming, especially if you have sustained an injury. In addition, Minnesota is a No-Fault Insurance State. This means that no matter who is at fault for an accident, each driver is responsible for their own medical bills, out-of-pocket expenses, and lost wages.

However, no-fault insurance cannot cover pain and suffering or other emotional distress. If someone else is at fault for a life-changing accident, they should be held accountable. We can help. We understand the complicated elements of a No-Fault Insurance State and insurance negotiations that can occur. We’ll negotiate on your behalf and address all variables of a complex situation.

If you’ve been involved in a car, motorcycle, or other motor vehicle accident, contact us today. The knowledgeable attorneys of Barna, Guzy & Steffen offer decades of experience helping individuals who have been involved in car accidents. Count on us to help you get your life back on track after an auto accident.

Conveniently located in Coon Rapids, Minnesota, we’ve proudly served the greater Twin Cities metro area and beyond since 1938.