A California auto accident can quickly turn your entire life around and leave you facing a tremendous amount of expense, pain, stress, and loss. There are important steps that you need to take after an auto accident, though the shock and surprise of it all can leave you in a state of mind where you don’t know what to do. With this in mind, the following is information you should know if involved in a car accident in California and what you should avoid in order to not hurt your injury claim.
Seek a Full Medical Evaluation
Depending on the severity of your injuries, this might be your first step, or it might be something that you do after calling the police and collecting evidence. If your injuries are severe and need emergency treatment, then this is the first concern that you should have. You should not turn down any offers to transport you to the emergency room via ambulance if you need medical treatment. Having said that, if your injuries are not severe enough to be rushed to the ER, you still need to seek a full medical evaluation.
Many auto accident victims make the mistake of not going to the doctor because they think their injuries are minor. In some cases, the person is not even aware that they are injured until hours or even days after the accident. Some injuries do not present severe symptoms right away. Seeking a full medical evaluation will not only ensure that any injuries you have are identified and addressed, preventing further harm, but it will also ensure that you have a solid case when you pursue compensation for those injuries.
Contact the Police and Wait for Them to Arrive
It is essential to remain at the scene of the accident until the police arrive – assuming that you are not being transported to the hospital for emergency medical attention. You should call the police to report your accident and then wait for them to arrive. You will then be able to file a police report which will be an important piece of evidence in any auto accident claim.
Gather Evidence to Prove Your Claim
Once again, this step is contingent on whether or not you must visit the emergency room for urgent medical care. If you are suffering from severe injuries in the hospital, then you will not be able to gather evidence in the same manner as you will if you are waiting at the scene of the accident for the police to arrive. If you are well enough to do so, you should take photos and/or videos of the scene, the weather conditions, the positions of the vehicles, any relevant road signs or signals, and the property damage of the vehicles.
You should collect the contact information and insurance information of the other driver and collect contact information from any witnesses who saw the accident, as well. You should also take notes regarding what you recall of the accident while it is still fresh in your mind. Beyond this, you’ll need to maintain thorough records of your medical treatment and expenses, your property damage and repair expenses, and any lost wages from time off of work while you recover. All of this will be important for your auto accident claim.
Avoid Admitting or Implying Liability
Many auto accident victims don’t realize how easy it is to jeopardize their auto accident claim by saying the wrong thing. It may seem natural to apologize to the other driver, even if you haven’t done anything wrong. The other driver can then use this to indicate that you were to blame, when the issue comes up at a later date. It is also possible that you did do something wrong, contributing to the conditions of the accident. You should still avoid saying so. For one thing, you might be misreading the situation. For another, your level of fault might be less than you or the other driver believe. It is best to avoid admitting or implying any liability at the scene, and let the investigation and evidence speak for themselves when the time comes.
Contact an Auto Accident Attorney
The best thing that you can do for yourself after a California auto accident is to contact an auto accident attorney for a free consultation. You will then be able to benefit from the experience of an established lawyer who has likely seen thousands of motor vehicle collisions in their time serving the area.
Contact the attorneys at The Sargent Firm Injury Lawyers to learn more about your options and get a free consultation for your auto accident claim. You don’t have to face the aftermath of an accident alone. We’re here to help you through every step of the auto accident claim process.