Car travel has become so commonplace in everyday life that it is easy to take peaceful car rides for granted and ignore the potential hazards cars create. No one wants to imagine being involved in a car accident. But in the unfortunate event you ever are in an accident, you should always remember to take these steps to ensure any claims you may want to make against whomever caused the accident are preserved:
Do Your Best to Remain Calm
Yes, this one is much more easily said than done. Your heart is probably racing. You are probably upset or angry with the person who caused the accident, and you may be in physical pain. Even so, you must do everything you can to keep your cool if you want the accident and, down the line, your claim against whomever is responsible, to be handled properly.
Check to See If Anyone in Your Car—Including You—Is or May Be Injured
Car accidents can lead to all types of injuries. Some are minor, some are of life-altering severity and some are so catastrophic they can lead to death. You may not realize you are injured until hours, days or even weeks after an accident. Once the dust has settled, check yourself for any signs of injury, such as scrapes, scratches, skin discoloration, bumps anywhere on your body, blood or anything else that feels or appears abnormal. If you are physically able to do so, you should call the police. If you need emergency medical treatment, tell the operator to send an ambulance to the scene. You should also begin taking pictures of your car and of any injuries you believe you sustained.
If You Feel Up to It, See If Anyone Outside Your Car Is Injured
If you feel you can exit your car without risking any further injury to yourself or anyone else, check on the driver and any passengers in all other vehicles involved. They will likely appreciate your concern, and this will give you an opportunity to assess their physical and mental state in the moment if they claim any injuries later. When you check on them, exchange car insurance information with all the other drivers involved in the accident and talk to anyone who witnessed the accident.
Call the Police and Talk to the Responding Police Personnel When They Arrive
Calling the police is essential. When they arrive, they will take statements from all the drivers and witnesses, record each driver’s insurance information, make note of any citations being issued, issue citations and write a comprehensive report. It is important to make sure the responding police personnel get as much information about the accident as possible to determine who caused it and what penalty will be assessed to whomever is responsible. They will also likely ask if you need emergency medical care. If you do want medical attention, they will call an ambulance staffed with emergency medical technicians to the scene. Just to be on the safe side, you should let medical personnel examine you.
Take Pictures of Everything—Yes, Everything
You should take as many pictures of the cars and people involved in the accident as you can. These pictures will be extremely valuable as evidence of the accident’s severity and as evidence of any injuries you sustained. Without this type of evidence, even the best personal injury lawyer will be starting off at a disadvantage in proving your case. Taking pictures of the scene can be beneficial, too, to provide context when you describe the accident later.
Go to the Emergency Room, Even If Only As a Precautionary Measure
Even if you are not in pain and you do not feel any different than normal, you should go to the emergency room to be examined. Deciding you feel fine at the scene, declining treatment and then realizing you need to be treated after the fact is the last thing you want. Beyond the inconvenience of then having to get to the emergency room or an urgent-care facility on your own, there is a chance your injuries will have worsened in the time since the accident.
Contact an Experienced Car Accident Attorney
You want someone with experience in the courtroom and someone who knows how to recover the money clients are owed. When you select an attorney, you should choose the Los Angeles car accident attorney who will be your most effective advocate both in court and in negotiating with insurance companies. Contact West Coast Trial Lawyers for additional information about how to select the best personal injury lawyer.
File Your Insurance Claims
This is where getting insurance information from any other drivers involved in the accident will pay off. If you do not have their information, you cannot file a claim for damages with their car insurance company and recover for your injuries. An experienced car accident attorney will be able to guide you through the claim process. Without this information, even the best personal injury attorney will have difficulty collecting your damages from the at-fault person or persons.
Be Diligent with Respect to Continuing Medical Treatment for Your Injuries
Listen to your doctors. Attend your follow-up appointments with them. They will discharge you from their care when they believe you are well enough to do without it. Do not try to manage your own care. Your doctors have your best interest in mind and will treat you until you have reached maximum medical improvement.
Take Your Car Accident Attorney’s Advice
The process of recovering damages from at-fault drivers after an accident seems daunting. When an experienced Los Angeles accident attorney is representing you, you will have peace of mind in knowing your attorney has a thorough understanding of the judicial system and knows how to handle your claim. The ability to receive thoughtful advice from a seasoned professional is one of the biggest advantages of having an accident attorney to represent you. Trust your attorney’s judgment and listen to the advice your attorney provides. In the end, when your claim is resolved, you will be happy you did.