What To Do After Motor Vehicle Accidents
The following steps are important guidelines to keep in mind if you are involved in a motor vehicle accident. However, it is equally important to remember that your health and safety are the absolute most important things to focus on, and if you are unable to complete any of these other steps, your Los Angeles car accident lawyers will still be able to build a strong case on your behalf.
Take a Moment To Collect Your Thoughts and Check For Injuries After a Car Accident
Nobody expects to be involved in an auto accident, and the moments after a crash can be filled with panic and adrenaline. Adrenaline can mask the pain of your injuries, and this can lead to people making incorrect (and counterproductive) statements at the scene about how they do not have any serious injuries.
Even if you think that you are not injured, DO NOT state this to anyone at the scene. Any statements (or apologies) that you make at the scene of vehicle accidents can come back during the investigation of your claim as the insurance company tries to find every way possible to limit your final settlement. Stay calm and focus on your health above all.
Prioritize Your Safety
Assess the situation, like whether or not your vehicle is at risk of being struck again or if you can safely exit the vehicle to get to a median strip, breakdown lane, sidewalk, or somewhere else out of oncoming traffic. If, however, it is safer to remain in the vehicle, then do that. You will need to call 911 to alert the proper authorities to the auto accident, and will need to do what is necessary to avoid any additional injuries.
Use your discretion when deciding what to do after an accident, and focus on your safety above all else.
Call the Police
Call 911 BEFORE exiting your vehicle if possible. Once you start talking to the other driver, they may try to convince you not to call, and some may even offer you cash on the spot. It is always in your best interest to have a Los Angeles police officer at the scene in order to create an accident report, and even more important, to have your injuries examined by EMTs. If you were involved in a hit and run, it is exceptionally important that you call as soon as possible and provide any relevant details that can assist the Los Angeles police in locating the other vehicle and at-fault driver.
When talking to the 911 dispatcher, let them know the location of your accident in Los Angeles, any injuries you are aware of, and anything else that will be important to relay to the police, firefighters, and EMTs arriving at the scene. Many people try to rush through a 911 call, thinking that the dispatcher will not alert the authorities until after getting off the call, but they are doing so while you are talking to them.
Exchange Insurance and Contact Information
Once you have called 911, you can exchange your information with the other driver without having an uncomfortable conversation about whether or not to alert the authorities. At this point, you will need to exchange your relevant insurance information, such as the provider, policy number, and agent. In addition, you will want to take down their driver’s license information, address, and phone number.
If you have been involved in a hit and run, try to record any relevant details immediately, so you do not need to worry about remembering it through the rest of this stressful time. Vehicle model, make, and color, any parts of their license plate you recall, and any other important identifying factors will all be helpful for Los Angeles police to track down the at-fault driver.
Tip: Here’s why Attorneys are your best bet against insurance companies!
Document The Scene of the Car Crash
Gather photo and video evidence of the scene of the accident to help your Los Angeles car accident lawyer get a clearer understanding of what happened. While you are taking a video, it can be very helpful to narrate over the video and call out as many specific details as you are able to recall. No matter how vivid the experience may seem at the moment, you will find that your memory fades quickly, and you will soon begin to question facts or recollections that seemed immutable at the time.
In addition to ensuring that you do not need to rely on your memory, pictures and video will also ensure that you do not need to try and explain every minor detail, whether or not you recall them. Pictures and videos are very helpful for Los Angeles car accident attorneys as they try to develop a clear understanding of what happened to their clients during the car accident.
Get Medical Treatment
While the previous steps are certainly helpful if you can take them, your medical treatment is, again, the absolute most important aspect of your car crash. When the EMTs arrive, they will be able to examine you and provide emergency care for any injury. If they determine that you have an injury that requires immediate care, they will suggest you take an ambulance to an emergency room. If you have suffered a traumatic brain injury and are unconscious, they will make this decision for you.
Many people deny on-scene care for fear of exorbitant medical costs but remember that you will be partnering with a personal injury attorney who will fight to recover these costs and more from the other driver’s insurance company after the crash. You deserve comprehensive care.
Follow Up With Your Doctor Immediately
Whether or not you take an ambulance to the hospital, contact your primary care physician immediately. This is especially important if you leave the scene of the car accident on your own, for a number of reasons. Primarily, you need care to maximize your recovery, but secondly, your doctor will be able to generate important documentation about your injuries.
Insurers work to deny damages for any injuries that victims are not able to provide clear proof for after Los Angeles car accidents, so any professional treatment you seek will also support your claims for things like the pain and suffering you have endured, as well as the impacts that each injury has had on your life.
Contact a Personal Injury Law Firm in Los Angeles
The claims process after car accidents can be as overwhelming as the car accident itself in some cases, but Los Angeles, CA car accident lawyers can make this process much easier — and more successful in terms of getting the money you deserve. It is easy enough to reach out to the other driver’s insurance company to start a claim after a motor vehicle accident, but from the moment the insurer initiates a claim, they will be looking for EVERY possible way to limit your final settlement.
Insurance firms handle many thousands of claims for car accidents every year, each with the goal of settling the claim for as little as possible, as quickly as possible. Your case will be no different, but when a car accident attorney is acting as your representative from day one, the insurer will not be able to leverage the uncertainty and anxiety that victims deal with after car accidents to reach a quick settlement.