Car accidents happen across the country every minute of every single day. No one knows more than a San Diego auto accident attorney how much of an impact the immediate actions of the driver can have days later. One of the problems people in car accidents face is that there is no established “checklist” of what to do and say after an accident.
Most of us don’t plan for a hypothetical car accident because we don’t believe it will ever happen. But based on car insurance estimates, the average driver files a collision claim every 17.9 years. There are additional factors that make it even more likely that you will have an accident. For example, the low gas prices have made it more affordable for people to go on trips. The increase in traffic on the roads also means more potential for being in an accident.
In most cases, car accidents aren’t planned for or expected. You may be driving the same route that you have driven hundreds of times before. Your trip has become so routine that you feel like you could drive it with your eyes closed. When the inevitable happens, you are more likely to feel confused and frightened than you are confident of what to do. If more people took a proactive approach to planning for car accidents, the recovery process would be a lot easier.
The tips below from a San Diego auto accident attorney will help you learn more about what you should and shouldn’t do when you have been in an accident.
1. The number one tip from an Auto Accident is to Never Say You Aren’t Hurt!
Car accident victims often go into “flight or fight” mode. Adrenaline is released into their system and they feel no pain. This initial reaction often hides the signs and symptoms of injury. It isn’t until hours or days later that they realize they have been hurt. If the other driver was at fault and you pursue a personal injury claim, your initial statement could come back to hurt you.
2. Determine If You Should Move Your Car
If your vehicle is still operational and no one is seriously injured, it’s a good idea to move it out of the way. This is especially important on roads with a lot of traffic. Determined drivers can put you and the other people involved in the accident at risk of further injury.
3. Don’t Admit Blame for the Accident
This tip is important whether you think you are partially or totally to blame. California’s Comparative Fault law may result in your sharing part of the blame, but not all. After the fact, the courts will look at the accident report, eye witness statements, and other information to determine how much of the blame is yours. Wait until all the facts are in and you have talked to a San Diego auto accident attorney concerning your degree of blame.
4. Get the Other Driver’s Information
Ask for their contact information as well as that of their auto insurance company and their policy information. Once you go home, contact your insurance company and theirs. Never assume that they will report the accident.
5. Gather Witness Information
Look around to see who has stopped at the accident or who might be walking by. Talk to people, ask if they witnessed the accident, and get their contact information. Their testimony is valuable to your case and proving the fault of the other driver. Provide this information to your attorney later on.
6. Call 911
Even if the accident seems minor and there seem to be no life-threatening injuries or major damage, contact 911. Even if the other driver exchanges information with you and agrees to turn the accident in to their insurance company, insist on calling the police. An accident report provides you with a lot of information about how the accident happened and who was at fault. If you find that you sustained injuries later on, you want a record to back up your claims.
If you are partially or completely at fault, don’t take the option the other driver gives you to settle the issue privately. If you leave the scene of the accident, they may claim that you did so deliberately. You need to do everything by the book or you could end up with serious legal issues on top of everything else.
7. Take Pictures
You don’t have to carry a professional camera and have photography skills to get sufficient pictures. Smart phones with built-in cameras are the standard for almost everyone today. Get pictures of the license plate, the road, any obvious damage to the vehicle, and any immediate injuries you received.
Also look around the scene to see if there are any obvious problems that might have led to the accident. These include secluded or damaged traffic lights or signs, a vehicle that was already stopped in or near the road, or water standing in the road.
One proactive step you can take now is to get the Wreck Check app for your smart phone. The app is offered for free by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC). It puts a no-nonsense checklist at your fingertips so you can review the list of what to do and what not to do after an accident.
8. Get Medical Attention
Obviously, serious injuries that require emergency care should come first before any other tip. But for accidents where there are no apparent life-threatening injuries, medical attention is still important. The right medical providers will know what to look for and evaluate your potential to develop more severe symptoms going forward. They will also provide a medical record in case your injuries surface later on.
Many car accident victims assume that the aches and pains they experience are just minor bruises. Once the adrenaline rush they experience at the time of the accident fades, they may begin to feel the pain and stiffness that signals an injury. Waiting until you feel the pain of injuries can easily help the other side of the claim to discredit you. It is also important to have any injuries treated early before they grow more severe. The most important thing after an accident is taking care of you; not replacing your car.
9. Write Everything Down
You may feel full of energy and have a sense of urgency to get all of the details of the accident lined up. Even if you have the best memory, don’t rely on it to keep track of anything. Write down all of the information you gather, details about the scene of the accident, and any other observations that you want to remember later on. Even if you aren’t sure why something seems important, document it. Your attorney may be able to use it to argue your case.
10. Find a San Diego Auto Accident Attorney
Most attorneys today have areas of specialty. This allows them to focus on the laws that apply to a select group of legal issues. If you have been injured in an auto accident that is mostly or entirely the other driver’s fault, don’t wait. Find a San Diego auto accident attorney that is experienced and has a high rate of success.
Batta Fulkerson Personal Injury Law Firm was founded for the purpose of helping clients with personal injuries through a personal injury case. They have had exceptional success as San Diego auto accident attorneys and have recovered tens of millions of dollars for their clients.
The first thing to look for in a personal injury attorney is experience in the area where you live. The legal team that represents you should have in-depth knowledge of personal injury cases and the California laws related to your case.
The second thing is the genuine desire to make things easier for their clients and get top results. Your attorney will do more than file a personal injury claim and wait for a response. They will help you find the right medical care for your injuries, even if you don’t have health insurance. They will start the process of setting up your case and gather all of the pertinent information they need to represent you. Every step they take will be to create a smoother process and get you a fair settlement.
All of these tips are important for getting you the immediate care you need and the results you need from your personal injury claim. Taking a proactive approach is always the best way to get optimal results. Whether you are planning ahead or you have already been in a car accident, these tips from a San Diego auto accident attorney can change the impact your injury has on the rest of your life.
Don’t make the mistake of thinking that any attorney can handle your case and get the same quality of results. Contact us today and schedule a consultation so we can discuss your case. We have the experience and the record of success to get results for you.