There are very few things that are more frustrating and disorienting than getting into a car accident. Not only does it involve possible injury and damage to your property, but it also requires a lot of administrative work afterward. The good news is if you know exactly what you need to do after your accident, then this ordeal won’t be as stressful. Here are a few steps that you should take after a car accident.
Pull to Safety
In some instances, drivers may leave the car exactly where it is while they wait for assistance. This is only acceptable if your vehicle is not interfering with traffic. If you’re in the middle of a busy road and your vehicle is still operable, the first thing you need to do is pull to safety.
There are a lot of accidents that occur as a result of another car accident. So if you want to prevent injuries and further damage, pull over and park your vehicle. Even if the accident seems very minor, it’s still a good idea to stop. Make sure that you turn on your emergency lights. If the accident occurs at night, then take out a flashlight so that oncoming traffic will be aware of your presence.
Call for Assistance
Now that you’re in a safe place, you need to call the police. Even if no one seems to be injured you should file a police report. In fact, your insurance company may require you to file a police report in order to file your claim with them.
If you want to make sure that everything is properly documented then it’s a good idea to take photos of the accident. Get pictures of the position of the vehicles, the damage that was done, and the roads you’re on. You should also take a picture of the street signs just in case you don’t remember the area later on.
In most cases, each driver will receive a copy of the police report. However, just in case something happens, it’s best to exchange information while you wait for the police. Ask for the person’s name, home address, and phone number. Ask to see their insurance card. If there were witnesses to the accident ask for their names and numbers. This way, if the case goes to court, you’ll have eyewitnesses.
Give a Detailed Statement to the Police
Once the police have arrived make sure that you give them all of the facts. Leave nothing out. Also, don’t offer information that you’re unsure about. Remember that this report could later serve as your testimony should the case go to court. Even a highly qualified auto injury lawyer may have a hard time defending what is written in the report. So if you attempt to speculate, it may do more harm than good. If you’re not sure about something, let the officer know as he’s taking down your statement.
Avoid Discussing Injuries
A common question that officers and other drivers tend to ask is if you’re injured or hurt. If you’re not sure about your physical condition at the time then tell them you’re not sure. In fact, a qualified Los Angeles auto accident attorney would advise you not to discuss your injuries at all.
Even if you feel fine, never say that you aren’t injured. It’s not uncommon for injuries and pain to show up days, weeks, or even a month after an accident. And if this is the case, this could affect your claim later on.
Seek Medical Attention
As mentioned earlier, injuries don’t always show up at the scene of an accident. In fact, most car accident injuries are soft tissue injuries, meaning that they may take some time to reveal themselves. Also, you may be hurt but not feel it do to all of the adrenaline and chaos that comes with being involved in a car accident.
So the best thing you can do is go to urgent care, an emergency room, or to see your primary physician as soon as possible. Even if the accident was minor, it could result in injuries that are permanent. And this is something that you need to be compensated for. By immediately seeking medical attention, you document the fact that you were examined by a professional.
Report It to Your Insurance Company
After you’ve been examined by a medical professional, it’s time to contact your insurance company. Just as is the case with seeking medical attention, this should be done as soon as possible. In fact, there are many companies that require you to report accidents immediately in order to receive the full benefit of your claim. In some cases, the company will give you a maximum of 30 days to report the accident.
Keep in mind that even if the accident was a minor fender bender you should still report it. Things may look fine, but you never know what damage has been done. The only way the company will pay for the repair is if you’ve filed your claim on time.
Keep Organized Records
It’s quite common for drivers to assume that they can get records of their accident from the police and insurance company. The problem is this information may take extra time to track down. So you need to make sure that you’re keeping your own records of the accident. All of your documents should remain together.
The reason this is so important is that your case could go to court. And by having all of this information on-hand, you won’t have to stress out about where you can find it. It will also make your lawyer’s job much easier and clearcut. The best car accident lawyer in the greater Los Angeles area will want to things such as your claim number, the name of your adjuster, contact information of everyone involved in the accident, as well as receipts for all payments related to the accident such as hospital visits and rental cars.
Contact Your Attorney
Now that you’ve done your part it’s time to get in touch with a Los Angeles accident attorney. An auto injury lawyer will help to ensure that you get all of the compensation that you’re owed from both your insurance company and the other driver. The best car accident lawyer will make sure that you understand your rights, how much money you’re entitled to, and when its time to settle. A lawyer can also offer emotional support throughout the case, as they’re familiar with how stressful this process can be.
Car accidents can have a huge impact on your life. They can cause damage to your property and possibly result in injuries that last a lifetime. So it’s important that you take the necessary steps to ensure that you get the necessary compensation. And it all begins at the scene of the accident. Whether you’ve been in an accident or your car simply won’t start, we are there to help you with your car recovery problems at all times. If you would like to know more about the proper steps to take after an accident or have recently been involved in an accident, contact West Coast Trial Lawyers for additional information.