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You Caused an Accident: What to Do Now to Protect Yourself

Jeff Cole
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Partner at Zimmer, Duncan & Cole

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You were reaching for something, you weren’t paying attention, or you simply made a bad move while in traffic. No matter the reason, you caused a car accident. That’s a terrible feeling, like a punch in the guts that just keeps going as you ask yourself: Will the other driver sue me? How much is this going to cost me? Will my insurance cover the damages?

While those questions may be hard for you to answer, there is one thing that is for certain: this thing, this accident, isn’t going to go away on its own.

The Three Steps You Need to Take After an Accident

  1. Do not talk about the accident. This is true at the scene of the accident as well as after. At the scene, you may need to give a police statement (though you may also want to contact your lawyer before speaking to police, especially if it’s a serious accident). Other than this you should speak to nobody about the accident. Anything you say can be repeated by the witnesses and used by the police or insurance.
  2. Speak with your attorney. The more serious your accident the sooner you’ll want to talk with an attorney. Your attorney’s job is to protect your rights, so do not delay in finding an experienced accident attorney.
  3. Call your insurance agent. You’ll need to report the accident to your agent and ask about the claims process. This is especially important if there have been any damages or injuries. If you don’t comply with the conditions of your policy (in claiming your accident and therefore beginning the claims process) your insurer may be able to get out of helping you pay for the accident.  

If You’ve Been Charged With a Crime

Separate from a lawsuit, there is the possibility that you’ve been charged with a crime related to the accident. This is especially true if the accident caused damage to property or caused any injuries. While you should be issued with a citation directly after the accident, know that the police will be able to add charges, should things change as they investigate the accident and learn the extent of the injuries to the other driver and any passengers.

What you need to do is simple: get the advice of an attorney. Only an attorney experienced in both criminal defense and car accidents will be able to help you navigate your way through the legal system and defend your rights.

If your accident occurred in Sioux Falls, Parker or anywhere in South Dakota we urge you to call our team today. We don’t charge for your first meeting with an attorney, and the advice you get, whether you decide to use our services or not, could save you both money and jail time. Call 888-733-2992, start a live chat on this site, or fill out a contact form now—you have no time to waste.


Category: Criminal Defense


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