Tips for Handling a Car Crash Amid COVID-19 Outbreak
Posted on behalf of RizkLaw on Apr 24, 2020 in Auto Accident
Many Portland residents are adhering to local shutdown requirements and following the Centers for Disease Control’s (CDC) recommendations for slowing the spread of the virus.
However, some individuals, such as essential workers, may have to leave home to drive to work or run an urgent errand. If you are in a car crash during this pandemic, you may wonder whether you should still call police or seek medical care.
Rizk Law discusses how and when to report your accident during the COVID-19 crisis and what to do if you were injured or believe another’s negligence caused your crash. You can contact Rizk Law anytime to discuss your claim. We have the capability to manage your claim remotely to help you stay safe during the pandemic.
How To Report An Accident During Coronavirus Outbreak
Here are some guidelines for reporting and documenting a car accident during the pandemic:
Minor Fender Bender; No Evidence of Injuries
If there is barely a scratch or it is only a minor fender bender, you may be able to report your accident online and request a hard copy for your records. However, if you do so, you still need to get the contact details of the other party and collect evidence from the crash:
- Stand six feet apart and verbally trade phone numbers
- Photograph the driver’s license, license plate number and insurance information
- Check the photos to make sure they are clear and can be read
- Photograph the scene, the location, identifying landmarks or signs, and vehicle damage
Car Accident Involves Injuries and Property Damage
If there any injuries or property damage that exceeds $2500 or more, you are required by law to report your accident to Oregon’s Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV).
Check online for full details about Oregon Department of Transportation's (ODOT) requirements for reporting to the DMV. It is a good idea to print these requirements out and keep them in your car for easy reference.
Per the Portland Police Bureau’s COVID-19 response, you should continue to call 9-1-1 for emergencies where there may be life-threatening injuries. First responders will still come to the scene to investigate, create a report and assist all drivers and other occupants who may be injured. In rare cases, the dispatcher may determine your accident does not require immediate assistance or an officer on the scene, and he or she will take your report over the phone instead. If this happens, it is important that you follow the recommendations above for getting contact details from the other driver and collecting evidence from the scene. You will also need to request a copy of the police report for your records and if you decide to file for damages later.
If you are not in serious danger, you can file your police report online or by calling (503) 823-3333 to make a non-emergency call. This is another way to create an official record of your accident.
Should You Seek Medical Help for Car Crash Injuries During the Shutdown?
Absolutely. Anytime your car accident involves more than just a tap, we strongly recommend that you seek medical care. While you may be uncertain about going because of the pandemic, hospital emergency rooms and urgent care centers are prepared and equipped to safely handle all types of patients amid the coronavirus. Even if you do not see or feel evidence of an injury, it is important to remember that some injuries are not visible but can be dangerous or life-threatening.
Some examples of serious injuries that you may not be able to see or immediately feel include:
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Serious soft tissue injuries
- Internal bleeding
- Damage to organs
- Spinal cord injuries
When seeking medical care during the pandemic, it is still a good idea to protect yourself by wearing a face mask and gloves, keeping your hands away from your face, and maintaining the recommended social distance, except for when the doctor examines you for injuries.
If you sustained minor injuries, such as bruising, smaller lacerations or sprains, you may have the option to seek medical care online. Virtual care may also be an option if your treating physician prescribes physical therapy for your injuries. Contact your provider to see what virtual services they may offer.
Initial Treatment And Ongoing Medical Care
Getting an initial examination and beginning prescribed treatment is imperative for protecting your health and helping to create an official record of your accident. Even if your injuries seem minor and you decide not to go to the hospital for examination, we recommend the following at minimum:
- Contact your primary care physician to note the accident and get it on record
- Document and follow your physician’s recommendations for treatment
- If physical therapy is recommended, but you want to avoid in-person contact, ask about a virtual appointment or a prescription that includes information about how to perform your exercises
- Video yourself doing the physical therapy
- Start an injury journal from the date of the crash, that includes accident details, the injuries you received, recommended treatment plan and your daily pain levels.
If you do not seek medical care, it will also be difficult to link your injuries to the car crash, and you may devalue any future claim should you decide to pursue compensation for your damages.
Seek Legal Help Online from Our Portland Law Offices Today
If you are injured in a motor vehicle accident during the shutdown, and you believe it was caused by another’s negligence, we encourage you to contact one of our reputable Portland car accident attorneys as soon as possible.
We are available to assist injured clients, and we have the capability to fully and securely process new claims and manage existing ones without the need for a face-to-face meeting. Call our firm today at 503.245.5677 for more information.