123 North College Avenue, Suite 160, Fort Collins, CO 80524
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Hoggatt Law Office, P.C.

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970-225-2190 | 
1-800-664-3151

larimer-county-car-accident-attorney.jpgWhat you do not do after a car accident is just as important as what you do. Taking the right steps is important, but so is avoiding the wrong steps. Doing the wrong thing after a negligent driver crashes into you could end up costing you. There are a few common mistakes that car accident attorneys see over and over again, all of which could potentially reduce the amount you can recover or even prevent you from winning your claim. Calling a lawyer immediately is never the wrong answer when you have been hurt in a crash. You may not be thinking clearly after being injured in such a sudden and potentially traumatic way. Insurance companies may take advantage of this by contacting you quickly, possibly while you are still recovering in the hospital. It is better to have legal counsel take over sooner rather than later. 

5 Actions You Should Never Take in the Aftermath of a Car Wreck

From the moment your vehicle comes to a stop, your course of action can affect your ability to recover complete compensation. A mistake could be very costly. If you were hurt in a car accident, make sure you do not: 

  • Apologize - If you are normally a polite person, your first instinct may be to apologize to the other driver regardless of whose fault the accident was. This can be a big mistake - your well-intentioned apology could be construed as you admitting fault. 

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larimer-county-car-accident-lawyer.jpgAfter a car accident, you may not feel up to tackling the legal side of the aftermath right away. You probably want to rest and recover. You may even still be in the hospital if your injuries were very serious. However, there are certain types of evidence that need to be collected promptly. That is where a good lawyer comes in. An attorney can take over the process of investigating and collecting evidence very quickly. It is important that you do not wait too long to get in touch with a lawyer. Some physical evidence at the crash scene may be cleaned up or washed away by the weather very quickly. Other evidence, like witness reports, tend to rapidly diminish in quality and reliability. Ideally, you should make the call to a law firm like Hoggatt Law Office, P.C. on the day of the accident if you are able to. 

What Time-Sensitive Evidence Needs to Be Preserved Quickly?

Some types of evidence will still be available a week later. If your vehicle was totaled, there may not be a huge rush to go document all the damage. For other types of evidence, the window to preserve it is much shorter. Types of time-sensitive evidence that need to be gathered quickly after a car accident include: 

  • Debris - Debris from a car accident is likely to be removed from the road in a hurry. Being able to prove where the defendant’s bumper landed in relation to where pieces of your broken windshield wound up could be important in proving whose fault the accident was. The sooner someone gets to the crash site the better. 

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fort-collins-car-accident-lawyer.jpgRollover accidents can be some of the most deadly, and the most terrifying to live through. A rollover accident is not an overly common event. It takes significant force or a steep enough hill to send a car rolling. These accidents tend to involve major carelessness or even recklessness on the part of the at-fault driver. Rollover accidents can be devastating for everyone involved, including the loved ones of those inside the car. If you were injured in a rollover accident caused by an unsafe driver, you may be able to recover compensation for your injuries. As rollovers often involve severe injuries that will require ongoing care, it is important that you let a lawyer help you calculate the amount you deserve before you consider an insurance company’s offer. 

What Careless or Reckless Behaviors Cause Rollover Accidents?

There are some environmental factors that play into the likelihood of rollover accidents. For example, we have a lot of steep hills here in Colorado that can turn a simple run-off-the-road accident into a rollover. But the people who bear the responsibility for rollover crashes are those who cause them. Some dangerous actions that can cause rollovers include:

  • Excessive speeding - Extreme speeds can create the force necessary to tip a car and cause it to roll. Even on a perfectly flat road, a collision at the right angle can flip a vehicle. 

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CO injury lawyerYou probably more or less know what to do after a routine car accident with another driver in a personal vehicle. However, if the driver who caused your accident was a city or state employee in a government vehicle, that can really throw a wrench in things. Government vehicles are of course insured like any other vehicle on the road should be. However, the process of dealing with the aftermath may look a bit different. Everything from reporting the crash to filing a claim and recovering compensation may involve just a slightly different procedure. The safest thing to do is to work with an attorney who is experienced in handling personal injury claims against the government before. Hoggatt Law Office, P.C. has this type of experience, and we are not intimidated by the idea of going up against the state.

Examples of Government Vehicles in Colorado

The term “government vehicle” is fairly broad. A government vehicle could be a:

  • USPS truck
  • A vehicle used by a public university
  • Firetruck, police car, or ambulance
  • Garbage truck
  • School bus
  • Street sweeper

These are just a few examples. Any vehicle operated by any city, state, or federal employee in the course of their job duties may count.

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CO injury lawyerNeutral third-party witnesses can make or break a motor vehicle accident case. People who just happened to be nearby when you were hit by a negligent driver and do not know either party can provide some of the strongest and most believable evidence in your case. Should it come to a trial, juries tend to put a lot of trust in bystander witnesses as they have absolutely nothing to lose or gain and no reason to lie. They can also provide a different, outside perspective on what happened from their own point of view. If you are able to, it is a good idea to flag down potential witnesses after the accident. Both the police and your attorney will be highly interested in what they have to say.

Why Are Eyewitnesses Important After a Negligent Driver Causes an Accident?

There are two sides to every story. Your version of events and the careless driver’s version of events are likely to be quite different. The driver who hit you is likely to make excuses or even outright lie in an effort to escape liability. Witnesses can be very helpful in a number of ways, including:

  • Unbiased account - Both you and the other driver have a strong interest in getting the court or insurance companies to accept your own version of the story. You want to win financial compensation, and the other driver or their insurance company does not want to pay you. Witnesses have no interest in the outcome of the case, so are more likely to be believed.
  • Better perspective - You may not have even noticed the other vehicle until it hit you. A witness may have observed the other driver doing something careless or reckless, like rapidly weaving in and out of traffic or texting. It is possible that outsider witnesses noticed something you did not that could help you prove your case.
  • Influencing police reports - When witnesses stick around to talk to the police, the statements they give often help the police form a judgment about who caused the accident.

Approaching Witnesses After an Accident

If you are able to remain at the scene after an accident, it is a good idea to get the attention of any bystanders who may have seen the accident. Politely asking them to wait for the police to arrive can be helpful. You may encounter witnesses who are unwilling to stay put or give a statement, but you may be pleasantly surprised at most people’s willingness to assist.

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Hoggatt Law Office, P.C.

970-225-2190 | 1-800-664-3151

123 North College Avenue, Suite 160,
Fort Collins, CO 80524

Greeley
3835 W. 10th Street
Greeley, Colorado 80634 |
970-460-2220
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353 Main Street, Suite A
Longmont, Colorado 80501 |
720-575-0509
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