Firm-Wide blog

You Have Been In A Car Accident. Now What?

By Burg Simpson
February 20, 2018
4 min read

Motor vehicle accidents are an everyday part of life. In 2016, the most recent year for which data is available, drivers were involved in nearly 14,000 auto accidents in Wyoming – 100 of them were fatal.

The most frequent auto accidents included:

  • Moving vehicles accidents
  • Animal crashes
  • Fixed-object collisions
  • Non-collision incidents

Anyone involved in a motor vehicle accident needs the help only a personal injury lawyer can provide.

What to Do At the Scene?

Immediately following an accident, it is best to move vehicles from traffic, if at all possible, and make sure the engines are not running. This not only makes things easier for first responders but could prevent any additional accidents as well. In that same vein, drivers involved should stay out of the roadway so as to avoid further injury.

If any kind of utility pole was hit in the accident, play it safe by avoiding any contact with the pole or downed lines. Also, if you are a smoker, avoid the urge to light up as a way to de-stress. There could be gasoline on the road or fumes in the area.

Finally, if possible, try to warn approaching traffic, especially if it is dark. Flares are always the best option.

What to Do After an Accident?

If you have been in a car accident, the worst thing you can do is leave the scene, since motorists have what is called a “duty to stop.” The penalties, in addition to the loss of driving privileges, can be steep: In an accident that results in an injury or death, the fine can be as high as $5,000 and can come with a prison sentence of up to one year.

Immediately after an accident, all of the involved parties have a “duty to give information and render aid,” according to Wyoming law. Which means that everyone must exchange names, addresses, vehicle registration numbers, and driver’s license information. Though not required by law, it is also a good idea to exchange insurance information. Additionally, if necessary, drivers must offer aid to anyone who has been injured, “including the carrying, or the making of arrangements for the carrying, of the person to a physician, surgeon or hospital for medical or surgical treatment if it is apparent that the treatment is necessary or if the carrying is requested by the injured person.”

What Do the Police Do If They Are Called?

Under certain circumstances, you must report the accident to the Wyoming Department of Transportation within 10 days of the accident. Those include:

  • The accident resulted in an injury or death.
  • The accident caused property damage of $1,000 or more.

Failing to do so can incur a fine of up to $200, a 20-day prison sentence, and a license suspension.

You should also contact law enforcement if you are convinced that the other driver committed a moving violation that led to the accident.  If you are in doubt whether the incident constitutes a real emergency, you should err on the side of caution and dial 911.

Making sure a police report is filed will help determine liability as well as speed along your insurance claim. It will prove vital if any further damages are discovered later.

Seek Necessary Medical Care

If you think you have been injured go to the Emergency Room or your treating doctor that day and give a full report of where you are feeling pain or think you may be hurt.  Do not play tough and wait too long to seek care.  Soft tissue injuries take a day or two to become painful.  It is important to document all medical problems.

If you have been seriously injured in a car accident because of someone’s careless behavior, you deserve justice. But there is a time limit. In Wyoming, the statute of limitations on filing a claim for either personal or property damage is four years. So do not wait. Contact the accident injury lawyers at Burg Simpson in Wyoming as soon as you can by calling 307-527-7891 or filling out a Free Case Evaluation Form right now.

Free case evaluation form