Today’s vehicles are safer than ever. However, even though modern cars, trucks, and SUVs now come equipped with the latest in safety technology, auto accidents continue to injure people every day. In fact, in California, an auto accident occurs every three minutes, with over three thousand car accident fatalities in 2020 alone. Most people don’t believe that a serious accident will happen to them. Unfortunately, the average driver is involved in three to four auto accidents during their lifetime.
At Lem Garcia Law, we believe in equipping our clients with the knowledge that can protect their rights, in the event of an auto accident. This post on the 5 steps to take after a car accident will do just that. These tips can help ensure you take the right steps in the aftermath of an accident. Doing so will help one of our attorneys build the strongest accident claim possible, to ensure you receive the compensation you deserve for your injuries and other damages.
What Steps Should I Take After a Car Accident?
An auto accident can occur in the blink of an eye. What you do after an accident can have a major impact on the success of your insurance claim or lawsuit. You need to know how to deal with insurance companies, police officers, witnesses, and the at-fault driver. If you’ve been in an auto accident, it’s important that you stay calm, keep your wits about you, and follow the law.
1. Check for Injuries, move to a Safe Spot and Survey the Damage
If you’ve been in an auto accident, pull your car over in a safe area, as close to the scene of the accident as possible. If you’re safe, check to see if anyone has been injured. Even if no one appears to be injured, you should still call 911 and report the accident.
If there is any damaged property or injuries, you will need to remain at the scene of the accident until you have fulfilled the following requirements:
- Speak with the other driver and exchange full names, addresses, and license plate numbers
- Exchange insurance information
2. Speak to the Police
Wait for the police to arrive and answer any questions they may have. A police officer will fill out a police report at this time. The report contains important information, including who the officer believes is at fault for the accident. Make sure you request a copy of the accident report.
3. Gather Important Evidence
During this time, a police officer will be focused on completing their investigation. Because things will be moving very quickly at this time, important evidence can easily be lost. Stay focused and gather evidence that can support your claim.
Take photos of the accident, including any road obstructions, broken and missing traffic lights or signs, images of the damage done to all vehicles involved, and any injuries. You should also take photos of the accident scene from a variety of angles. Take photos of skid marks in the road, debris, and any poor road conditions, such as potholes.
You will also need to document important details, including the time of day the accident occurred, where you were headed, the direction both cars were traveling, the approximate speed of both vehicles, the location of the vehicles immediately before and after the accident, and current weather conditions.
4. Seek Emergency Medical Attention
Putting off medical treatment for several days after an accident is a common mistake that many car accident victims make. Don’t wait to see a doctor. Seek medical treatment as soon as possible after an accident. An insurance company will use any gap in time from the time of the accident until the time you seek medical treatment, against you. They may even claim that your injuries occurred at some point after the accident.
Some injuries may not show obvious signs until several hours after an accident, or even a day or two later. Because of this, you must seek medical treatment as soon as possible.
If you don’t want to go to the hospital in an ambulance, have a friend or family member drive you to the emergency room. A doctor will evaluate you and run all the necessary tests. They may also recommend following up with your primary doctor. Follow your doctor’s treatment instructions carefully. Keep all medical documentation, including medical bills. These documents will be used to support your claim for compensation. You must also cooperate with your insurance company in an investigation and the processing of claims, whether you caused the auto accident or not. If you do not cooperate, your insurance provider may raise your premium, or they may refuse to renew your policy.
5. Contact an Auto Accident Attorney
To protect your right to fair compensation, contact an auto accident lawyer at Lem Garcia Law as soon as possible. The at-fault driver’s insurance company will be quick to contact you to hear your side of the story. An insurance adjuster may even offer you a settlement. While it may be tempting to accept this fast settlement offer, don’t. Our personal injury attorneys will investigate your case and determine the full value of your personal injury claim. We will make sure you receive every penny of compensation that you deserve. Most insurance companies will offer accident victims a settlement before they even know the extent of the victim’s injuries. We will explore every avenue of compensation for damages to ensure you receive a fair settlement that will cover the cost of all of your losses.
Contact Lem Garcia Law Today
At Lem Garcia Law, we offer free, no-obligation case strategy sessions. We want you to walk out of our office knowing exactly what your legal rights are, even if you decide not to work with us. We believe in equipping accident victims with the legal knowledge they need to make the best possible decision regarding their auto accident case. If you do decide to work with us, we will get started right away, investigating your claim, gathering evidence, and working tirelessly to ensure you receive the compensation you deserve for your injuries and other damages. Don’t put off seeking legal representation. Contact Lem Garcia Law today to schedule your free case strategy session and let our law firm help you hold the negligent driver responsible for the harm they have caused you and your family.