What Should I Do?
If you are in an auto accident, you may be too upset to think clearly. Accidents happen to the best of drivers and you should be prepared to take the right action at the site. Many legal troubles arising from accidents can be avoided or lessened if you know in advance what should be done.
The lawyers of Kansas offer you 12 very basic rules for protecting your rights should you be in an accident.
Stop. Never drive away even from a minor "bump" without checking to see if there are damages or injuries. Do not move your automobile until the police arrive unless it creates a traffic hazard that might cause another accident. If the accident occurs on a highway or at night, arrange a signal to warn approaching cars to slow down. If anyone is seriously injured, try to get a doctor or an ambulance, whichever is quicker. Meanwhile, make the injured person as comfortable as you can without moving them in a way that could add to the injury.
Ask for the other driver's name, address, car license, driver's license, name of insurance company and policy number, and be prepared to give such information to the other driver. Kansas law requires both drivers, upon request and if available, to show their driver's license and to give the name of their insurance company and policy number to the other driver, to injured persons and to the police. Your insurance company will provide you with the necessary proof of insurance document which you should keep in your glove compartment.
Car Tag No.
Driver's License No.
Insurance Co. Policy No.
Get the names and addresses of all persons involved in the accident.
Nature of Injury, if any
Get the names of other witnesses and ask them how they saw the accident.
- Make written notes on the scene.
- Be as exact as possible. It is better to say (if true) "I was slowing down from 25 miles an hour: than, "I was not speeding." Likewise, "Other driver's front wheels were over the center line when we hit" is preferable to, "He was crowding me."
- Report the accident at once to the police and your insurance company. You must notify the police when there is personal injury, death or property damage of $500 or more. A report to the state is not required unless you are notified to make such a report, but certain Kansas cities and counties require a report within a short period of time. The officer investigating the accident will usually advise you about making such a report and furnish official forms to you. If not, official forms are available at police and sheriffs' offices.
- Obtain the name or badge number of the investigating officer.
- Officer's Name
- Badge Number
- Police, Sheriff, Highway Patrol
- Do not make impulsive comments.
- See a doctor if you feel any after effects. You can be seriously injured and not feel it at the moment. The time lapse before you see a doctor may be important.
Post-accident Insurance Process
Kansas is one of the states with mandatory "no-fault" insurance, which covers drivers and passengers alike; even pedestrians injured by a driver. Under our no-fault system, your own insurance company will pay medical without need of a lawsuit. The minimum amounts and types of benefits paid are set by statute, and most insurance companies offer additional benefits through the payment of additional optional premiums.
Consult your own attorney. Beware of anyone seeking to rush you into a quick settlement or written statement. As a general rule give statements only to the police, your own attorney and your own insurance representative. Consult your attorney, regardless of who is at fault in the accident. If you do not have an attorney, you may contact the Kansas Bar Association Lawyer Referral Service at (800) 928-3111.