8 Steps to Take After a Car Accident:
With 6.5 million licensed drivers on the road, Los Angeles County certainly sees its fair share of car accidents. Many drivers do not know what to do after a collision to protect their financial interests. One small mistake at the accident scene or over the weeks that follow could prevent you from recovering fair compensation for medical bills, lost income, and other damages.
8 crucial steps to take after a motor-vehicle collision:
1. Check Yourself and Other People for Injuries
It goes without saying that your top priority after any accident is to seek medical care for yourself and anyone else who was hurt. Contact emergency medical services if necessary, and if someone appears to have sustained a back injury, do not move them as this could cause their injury to worsen.
2. Call the Police
Even if nobody appears to have been seriously injured, you should contact the police so an officer can create an accident report and direct traffic at the scene. This report will be essential evidence for proving liability and damages. When talking to the police, do not admit fault or speculate regarding the cause of the crash. Provide only basic details about the collision so you don’t wind up saying something that jeopardizes your subsequent claim.
3. Take Photos of the Accident Scene
Timestamped photographs can provide insight into what happened in the moments leading up to the collision. If there is a dispute regarding the cause of the crash, an accident reconstruction expert may use pictures and other evidence to corroborate events. Be sure to take wide-angle shots of the entire scene as well as closeups of property damage (both inside and outside the vehicles), injuries, skid marks, traffic signs, and weather and road conditions.
4. Move Your Vehicle to a Safe Location
If your vehicle is obstructing traffic, you should move it to a safe location as soon as possible. This will help prevent subsequent accidents.
5. Gather Insurance and Contact Details from All Drivers Involved
Take photos of the driver’s licenses, insurance cards, and license plates of all drivers involved in the collision. Also, write down their contact details and ask if the information on the insurance cards and driver’s licenses are up-to date.
6. Record the Contact Details of Eyewitnesses
If eyewitnesses saw the crash occur, their testimony may be critical for proving liability. For instance, they may have noticed the at-fault driver making an illegal maneuver just before the collision.
7. Visit a Doctor
After a serious accident, it is not uncommon for drivers and passengers to put off their medical evaluation to avoid the expense. Unfortunately, this could prove to be a costly mistake. The insurance company might argue that your injuries were not caused by the accident.Your decision of not to visit a doctor may cause your injuries to worsen and you are therefore liable for at least a portion of your damages.
8. Contact a Personal Injury Attorney
Most important of all the steps-which will fetch you your rightful dues.Insurance companies might promote themselves as honest and trustworthy, but they can be ruthless when it comes to denying claims. Insurance adjusters are essentially professional negotiators.They are adept at getting claimants to accept low settlements, admit fault, and make compromising statements during recorded conversations.
A seasoned personal injury lawyer can handle correspondence with the claims adjuster so you don’t end up making a statement that jeopardizes your case. Your attorney can also gather essential evidence, file subpoenas for evidence that is being withheld, arrange testimony from expert witnesses, calculate your damages, and ensure you meet all critical deadlines. Most important of all, talented lawyer can make the claims process far less stressful for you and your family by helping you navigate every step of the proceedings.
There’s No Substitute for the Advice of a Seasoned Personal Injury Lawyer
Although these 8 steps can put you in a favorable position to file a personal injury claim, there are many other tasks to complete in the aftermath of a car accident. A personal injury attorney is your best source of advice regarding your case. The sooner you schedule a consultation, the sooner you can shift your focus to what matters most: your health and your family’s well-being.