After an Accident, Speak to a Lawyer BEFORE the Insurance Company

It’s one thing when you are a NASCAR favorite and announce on national television that you believe another NASCAR driver was at-fault in an accident as Denny Hamlin did this week. After all, he does have great video to back up his accusation. But, when you are a regular Oregon citizen, driving on regular Oregon roadways and are in a car accident, it’s probably wise to say as little as possible about the accident until you’ve had an opportunity to consult with a lawyer. 

In Hamlin’s case, an ongoing feud between him and former Joe Gibbs teammate Joey Logano may have contributed to the accident in last week’s race at Auto Club Speedway. According to news sources, Hamlin and Logano have collided several times in races recently, leading up to this incident in which Hamlin ended up with a broken vertebra. Still, Hamlin admitted that while he doesn’t think the wreck was intentional and doesn’t blame Logano for his injury, he does believe that the accident was Logano’s fault. NASCAR, after reviewing the accident concluded that “the incident was a byproduct of racing hard for a victory,” and will not penalize Logano this time.

Hamlin, expected to recovery in approximately six weeks, hopes to be back in the racing business by April 27 to drive on his home track at Richmond International Raceway.  His doctors have stated that it is a possibility that he may be ready for the Richmond race; but, there is no way to predict how fast the injury will heal.

What to do When Involved in a Car Accident

Car accidents are sudden. Car accidents are scary. They leave even the most level-headed of drivers shaken. However, immediately after an accident is not the time to speak with insurance adjusters or others involved in the accident about the incident. In fact, most Oregon personal injury lawyers will tell you that going into detail about the accident without legal counsel could come back to bite you when you try to file an insurance claim. So, what should you do?

First, Make Some Phone Calls

  1. Call 911 if anyone needs medical attention.
  2. Call the police. You’ll want a police report to record the incident. Don’t admit any guilt for the accident and don’t give details to the police that you are not completely sure of, as everything you say will go into the police report. It will be difficult to file a claim or lawsuit later if you get nervous and even hint that the accident could have partially been your fault.
  3. If you have the name of some good Oregon personal injury lawyers, call one for legal advice.
  4. Call your insurance agent to report the accident, but don’t yet speak to the other person’s insurance company.

Second, Gather Information

  1. Exchange insurance information with other drivers of the accident, if possible. If your insurance agent or the police meet you at the scene, they’ll often handle this for you. Most insurance cards have instructions on the back that instructs you about what information you’ll want to gather if you are on your own.
  2. Take pictures of the scene using your cell phone, if possible.
  3. Take notes about the circumstances of the accident and what happens afterwards.
  4. Get contact information or license plate numbers for witnesses to the accident, if possible.
  5. Write down the other vehicle’s license plate number.

Third, Contact Experienced Oregon Personal Injury Lawyers

Your personal injury lawyer can assist you with filing your insurance claim, make sure all paperwork is filed correctly, remind you to file a DMV report, negotiate with insurance companies for a worthwhile settlement, and file a personal injury lawsuit, if necessary.