The Most Important Steps to Take After a Car Accident
Minnesota accident victims should seek help quickly to understand the process
on December 17, 2018
Updated on May 11, 2022
There is a significant amount of free legal advice from personal injury attorneys widely communicated through all forms of media to prospective accident victims. Recalling that information may be difficult for victims at the scene of an accident. This is in part because getting into an auto accident can be a stressful situation.
Andrew Rorvig has represented Minnesota motor vehicle accident victims since 2005, and cautions that, “people sometimes overthink the situation.”
Instead, Rorvig says victims should focus on two issues following an accident. Number one: “Don’t be a tough guy. If you are having issues, tell somebody and go see a doctor.” And two: “Get information. Don’t wait too long. You don’t necessarily have to hire a lawyer, you may not even have a claim, but waiting too long and not getting information [is a poor choice].”
What to do at the scene of the accident?
Assuming there are no serious injuries, Rorvig says, “the first thing you want to do is make sure you know the insurance companies involved. … Some people don’t realize there are time requirements for making an insurance claim. The sooner a claim number is generated, the better off you’re going to be.”
There is no harm in involving law enforcement, he adds. “If possible, I’d always prefer to have the police. I think that always makes the most sense. Having the police there nails everything down, so those events don’t change.”
Although police certainly do their best, Rorvig cautions the police report is not always without errors. If accident victims are physically able, they should take photos at the scene. The location of the vehicles, debris or skid marks on the road could all prove helpful later. “Unfortunately, we live in an adversarial world; you have got to be your own best friend,” warns Rorvig. “You may think it’s a pretty clear situation, or the other driver is at fault, but later there might be a dispute.”
Accident victims with no pain or signs of injury likely don’t need to see a doctor, Rorvig adds, but cautions victims to seek medical attention or medical treatment anyway. “[An injury] sometimes takes time to develop. It may start out quiet, but over time get worse.”
When to call an accident attorney?
“After the accident has happened, you’ve contacted your insurance company, and you are evaluated by a medical professional, at that point touch base with a lawyer,” advises Rorvig. “Not necessarily to sign a retainer, but at least to talk, get some information so you can make good decisions.”
Minnesota’s no-fault automobile insurance laws mandate how damages are divided among the accident victims—and those laws can be confusing, warns Rorvig. “It’s worth meeting just to understand how the benefits work [under a no-fault claim].”
Another reason to meet with an attorney—especially early on—is to safeguard any future claims of the victim. “There are things that can be done early on, when memories are fresher, to try to lock in exactly what happened, whether it’s interviewing witnesses, looking for physical evidence, or talking with the police officers,” explains Rorvig. “It’s important to have someone there to investigate the claim right away.”
What to look for in a personal injury attorney?
Honesty and ethical conduct are important when looking for a personal injury attorney. Rorvig cautions accident victims that they must be able to trust their lawyer. “If you don’t have a good rapport with your attorney, it’s never going to work.”
When evaluating attorneys, Rorvig says to look for an attorney that will be easily accessible to their clients. Accident victims with questions should not wait, but contact an experienced Minnesota personal injury attorney at a law firm right away.