No matter how safe you are on the roadway, statistics show that you'll likely be involved in at least one auto collision in your lifetime. When collisions occur, they can be overwhelming, to say the least.
Knowing what to do when an auto accident happens can help to tame that overwhelming feeling and get the situation handled appropriately. It's important to realize that you can't let your emotional state rule how you handle yourself at the scene of a car accident. The actions you take in the moments following the accident play a big role in determining your ability to seek financial compensation from those involved. Having a well-laid out plan to follow is the key to ensuring you don't wreck your chances of receiving compensation due to injuries and property damage as a result of an auto accident.
Always Remain At The Scene
Unless you're seriously injured, you must remain at the scene of the accident until the police reporting is complete and the vehicles are towed away. You never want to leave an accident scene before the police arrive as it could be considered a hit and run. Instead, use your time at the scene to collect information from witnesses and other parties involved until the police arrive.
Verify Any Injuries
When you're involved in an auto accident, adrenaline can take over fast. This can prevent you from feeling pain from injuries that happened during the accident. Take a moment to look yourself over for any signs of injury. Talk with the other parties involved to see if they are injured. If need be, contact emergency medical assistance for those who are badly injured. You never want to move any injured party until the ambulance arrives.
Call The Police
You must contact the police to receive an accident report. Any Los Angeles car accident lawyer will tell you that the accident report is a key piece of evidence in any personal injury case. When you contact emergency assistance, be sure to let them know where the accident occurred and if there are any injuries. When the officer arrives, be sure to get their contact information. Your auto injury lawyer will likely use the officer as a witness if your case goes to trial.
Exchange Information With The Other Parties
You should exchange contact and insurance information with the other parties who are involved in the accident. A good personal injury lawyer will advise you to write down the following information:
- Phone Number
- License Number
- Insurance Information
- Vehicle Plate Number
You must be careful what you say when exchanging information with other parties. It's human nature to apologize when an accident occurs, but your car accident personal injury lawyer will tell you that admitting fault at the scene can destroy your chances for receiving financial compensation. Do your best to limit what you say during the exchange of information. Try to maintain a friendly tone throughout the entire exchange.
Get Witness Information
You shouldn't rely on the police officer to collect contact information for witnesses of the accident. Instead, you should talk with witnesses who saw the accident happen. Ask them to describe what they saw and write it down. Any auto injury lawyer will tell you that having witness contact information is a vital component to proving your case for compensation. If you don't get witness contact information at the scene, it's very likely you won't see them ever again.
West Coast Trial Lawyers will tell you that photographs speak more than words when it comes to a personal injury case. Take out your mobile device and snap photographs of the scene. You'll want to get the entire view of the scene, all the vehicles with their damages, any injuries that happened, and anything else relevant to the accident. It's better to take more pictures that you won't use than to not take enough. It's up to your Los Angeles accident attorney to decide what pictures will be used in your case. Be sure to give them tons of options to choose from.
Keep Your Talk Limited
Car insurance companies know that their best chance of settling with you is right after the accident occurs. This is a time where your head is not completely grasping the entirety of the accident and you may accidentally agree to settlement terms you normally wouldn't if you were in the right frame of mind. You should contact your Los Angeles car accident lawyer first and let them handle dealing with the other person's insurance company. It's only advisable to speak to your own insurance company as they have your best interests in mind.
Contact Your Lawyer
As you've noticed throughout these steps, West Coast Trial Lawyers are a vital component of ensuring you receive compensation for injuries and damages that you sustained from the accident. Once you've completed the necessary steps above at the scene of the accident, it's time to call your Los Angeles accident attorney. Let them know what happened so they can start your case.
Your lawyer may likely ask you to come in for an initial interview so they can record what's still fresh in your mind from the scene. Some may ask for a recorded phone interview. Be sure to take in the photographs and all the other information you collected from the other drivers, witnesses, and the officer to your lawyer. The sooner your lawyer has the information they need, the quicker they can work on getting your case settled.
Keep Detailed Records
While we like to think that we can remember a lot of things that happen, we simply can't. As time passes, our memories lose important details that can help with your case. Do yourself a favor and start documenting the details from the very start. This will ensure that they're there for you to fall back on when necessary.
Your documentation records should start when you're at the scene of the accident. All the information that you gather from witnesses, police officers, and the other parties involved should be transferred into your safe documentation notebook. Be sure to record the types of pains that you experience at the scene of the accident as well as afterward.
If you missed work, family events, or vacations due to your injuries, you should be notating that in your documentation notebook. When you visit medical health professionals regarding your injuries, you should be taking notes of their diagnoses and any medications they prescribe. Realize that the more information you keep track of regarding your auto accident and injuries, the easier you're going to be able to prove your case.
If you've recently been involved in an auto accident, you should contact West Coast Trial Lawyers for additional information on how to handle the claims process. The above steps are a great start to get you on the way to receiving the financial compensation you deserve for personal damages and injuries from an auto accident. With the help of an experienced car accident attorney, you'll be well prepared to win your case.
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