A car accident is an unfortunate event that can turn your entire life upside down. It is one of the most terrifying and disorienting things you can go through. In addition, if the accident leaves you with injuries, you can find yourself in turmoil, fighting to live your life as normally as possible or even fighting to survive if the injuries are potentially life-threatening.
Immediately after a car accident, you may find yourself reeling, wondering what to do. This is perfectly normal after such a frightening experience, especially if you have suffered injuries as a result. However, there are certain things you need to be conscientious about doing after you have been involved in a car accident. Accidents are unfortunate events, but they are also inevitable. Sadly, even with the best drivers, not every accident can be prevented or avoided.
No matter what the circumstances of the accident you experienced on the road, you must take certain steps. These things are essential and should be done immediately after a car accident. They can help to protect your rights and ensure that you get everything you need during such a confusing time.
Remain at the Scene of the Accident
First and foremost, you must remain at the scene of a car accident no matter what the circumstances. Whether you may be at fault or even minimally at fault for the accident or if you are absolutely sure another driver is the at-fault party, you have to stay at the scene. Leaving can result in negative consequences for you, with the worst-case scenario being that you are charged with a hit and run. Although it might be difficult and you will be filled with a myriad of emotions, the best thing you can do after a car accident is to remain at the scene.
Again, it might seem easier said than done, but another thing you must do immediately after a car accident is to remain as calm as possible. Although it is too easy to simply panic, staying calm can prevent the situation from escalating in any way.
Check Yourself and Others for Injuries and Get Medical Attention
You will no doubt be shaken up after a car accident, but it’s important to check on yourself for injuries. You may immediately notice something is off and that a certain area of your body hurts or you might not due to adrenaline. Check on everyone else who was in the accident as well to see if they are injured. Remember, the most important thing is your well-being and the well-being of everyone else as well.
Even if you and other people don’t believe you are actually injured, it’s still important to seek medical attention after a car accident. In many instances, an injury can lie dormant due to the rush of adrenaline you typically experience after such a scary situation. Additionally, in some cases, there may be unseen injuries, such as those that are internal, that require immediate medical attention. At the end of the day, it’s always better to err on the side of caution and get medically checked out.
Call 911 for the Police
You should also call 911 as soon as possible so a police officer or officers can come to the accident scene. It gives you the opportunity to request a police accident report to be made, which can benefit you if you plan on filing a personal injury claim at some point. You will be able to obtain a copy of the report by visiting your local police precinct. Get the officer’s name and badge number if you are unsure about how to get a copy of the report at a later date.
Exchange Information with the Other Driver
You will want to exchange information with the other driver or drivers who were involved in the accident. Get their names, phone numbers, driver’s license numbers and license plate numbers as well as their auto insurance information. You will need all of this when it comes time to file a personal injury claim, especially if you choose to get compensation through an insurance company.
Keep Conversation to a Minimum
While you are exchanging information with the other driver or drivers, it’s important to also keep the conversation to a minimum. You don’t want to say too much, admit to any type of fault or even apologize for anything. It can be misinterpreted as you admitting that you are to blame for the car accident.
Speak with Witnesses
Look around for witnesses and speak with them to get their names and contact information. You may also want to ask them for their thoughts about the accident and what they saw when it took place. You can have them write down their own account of the events or even video record them using your smartphone. Witness accounts can really help your case when you file a personal injury claim.
Take as Many Photos as Possible
It’s important to snap some photos — as many as possible — to serve as evidence that your car accident personal injury lawyer in Los Angeles can use in your case. Focus on the road, the vehicles involved in the accident, the weather conditions, skid marks, road signs or traffic lights if they are pertinent and anything else that seems relevant to the accident. You can use a digital camera or the camera from your smartphone. Anything that shows the damage done can only help your case when you speak with an auto injury lawyer.
Inform Your Insurance Company of the Accident
Contact your own insurance company and speak with an agent to inform them that you have been in an accident. This is important just in case the driver at fault for the crash doesn’t have insurance or is underinsured. You will have to fall back on your own auto insurance policy to pick up the slack when you want to recover compensation for your medical expenses and other damages.
Finally, it is also wise to document everything after a car accident. You may want to keep a journal of your injuries, symptoms and diagnosis from doctors. Make note of the way you are feeling physically, emotionally and mentally and write down your thoughts regarding the accident itself as well. Jot down any out of pocket expenses and time off you have missed from work as well as any lost wages or a reduction of hours and salary. You may also want to write down any information like missing out on family events, vacations or other things you had planned but were unable to attend to after the accident.
If you are in California and have suffered injuries in a car accident that was not your fault, you need the assistance of a Los Angeles accident attorney. West Coast Trial Lawyers are there for you and a car accident personal injury lawyer can help to protect your rights. Contact West Coast Trial Lawyers to speak with a Los Angeles accident attorney at your earliest convenience. An auto injury lawyer can inform you of all your options for proceeding with your personal injury claim.
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