If you were in a motor vehicle accident, the last thing you want to worry about is the actions you need to take next. However, the things you do after a car accident can not only help keep you safe but protect your legal rights.
That is why, in this post, to help you understand what these steps are and why they are important, we will go over the things you should do following a motor vehicle collision. In addition, we will also explain how contacting an experienced motor vehicle accident attorney after this crash can help you go after the damages and justice you deserve.
Check Yourself and Others For Injuries
If you are involved in a motor vehicle collision, you want to first check yourself for injuries and the well-being of your passengers. If you can, get to the side of the road or a sidewalk, away from other moving vehicles.
In addition, if your vehicle is a danger to others because of its location, but it is safe to move, you may want to pull it to the side of the road. Otherwise, you should leave it where it is and get yourself to safety.
Contact 911 Immediately
Next, you should immediately contact 911. If you are too injured and cannot call, have someone around you call on your behalf. Calling 911 is the fastest way to alert the police and medical personnel of the incident and your injuries and the quickest way to get the accident on record.
Once the police arrive at the scene, they can investigate the crash and write down their findings in their police report. If you decide to file a legal claim following this accident, this report can provide you and your attorney with valuable information regarding what happened and who was at fault for the collision.
However, to ensure you can obtain this report at the time of the accident, make sure you verify with the officers what police department they are at, so you can contact the department for the official police report.
Try to Gather Evidence From the Crash Scene
If you do not require emergency medical services and the scene of the crash appears to be safe, gather as much evidence as you can from the crash with a cell phone camera, including photos and videos of:
- Your visible injuries
- The vehicles involved in the accident
- The placement of these vehicles on the road
- The damage to your car
- Traffic signs near the crash scene
- The weather conditions at the time of the accident
- Skid marks on the road
- Road defects such as potholes or loose gravel, and
- Any other evidence that can help show what happened
However, if your injuries prevent you from gathering this information, do not worry. Once you retain an experienced motor vehicle accident attorney, these lawyers can get to work gathering this evidence on your behalf.
Talk to the Other Drivers Involved in the Crash
After the motor vehicle accident, you should try to exchange information with all the other drivers involved in the collision and get their:
- Full name
- Contact details, such as phone number
- Driver’s license number and license plate number
- Insurance information and policy number
- Type, color, and model of vehicle
If the other motorist will not provide you with this information or gives you a hard time after the collision, leave this information-gathering to the police officers when they get there. Your lawyer can get these details from the police report.
Check With Witnesses
If there were people at the crash scene, who saw what happened, try to get their contact details and names. Witnesses can provide your attorney with helpful information about what happened and provide testimony to substantiate your case. However, if these witnesses hesitate to offer you contact information, do not try to force them. Instead, let your lawyer work on getting this information and testimony from them.
Get to a Doctor Promptly
Depending on the circumstances of the accident, your injuries may not appear to be that severe following the collision. However, even if an ambulance does not take you to the emergency room following the accident, get to a doctor as soon as possible and get examined.
Symptoms of serious injuries such as brain trauma, spinal cord injuries, or internal bleeding can take some time to manifest. The longer you wait to get these injuries checked out, the more debilitating and deadly they can become. Get to a doctor after your car collision.
Plus, getting this prompt medical treatment can also help your legal case. Following a car accident, the insurance company will try to do everything it can to pay you less money than you are entitled to or try to deny your claim. By not seeing a doctor after your accident, the insurance company may use this to argue that your injuries are not that serious or that they result from a subsequent event.
Fortunately, when you get to a health care professional after the car collision, they can jot down information about your accident and your injuries in their medical report, supplying you with evidence of a direct link between the harm you sustained and the car crash.
Watch What You Say to Others and What You Post Online
Following the car crash, you need to watch what you say to others, as the statements and comments you make can be used against you and impact your case. For these reasons, it is best not to make any definitive statements about the incident, apologize for anything that happened, or take the blame for what occurred.
In addition, although it may seem like a great way to vent your frustrations, you also should not post anything about the collision on your social media accounts or any online support forums. This is because everything you post online creates a trail of evidence that the other side can use against you, affecting the amount of money you can receive.
Keep Track of Your Bills Following the Car Crash
To help your attorney go after the maximum monetary damages possible following your accident, secure as much evidence from the accident as possible. This includes your medical bills, receipts, and medical records associated with your car collision. These documents can help provide your lawyer with proof of the damages and losses you endured in the crash.
However, it is also important to note that you should obtain these records as you are going through the different treatments. Otherwise, if you wait too long to get this paperwork, the documents can potentially get lost, or obtaining them can take a long time.
Do Not Talk to the Insurer Unprepared
After a car crash, the insurance company will likely be calling you. However, before talking to these adjusters, you should consider how this conversation can affect your car accident claim. Although most people want to believe that the insurance company will want to help them after an accident and assist them in getting them the money they need, this is not how insurance companies work.
Insurance companies are a business, and like other businesses, they want to make a profit. By offering you less than you deserve or denying your claim altogether, these companies will make more money. For these reasons, insurance companies and their adjusters will try any tactic they can to get you to admit to something that can hurt your case.
As a result, before you speak to an insurance adjuster or take any calls from them, you should first reach out to an experienced car accident attorney. A lawyer can not only prepare you to deal with these insurance companies and their deceitful ways, but better yet, they can take over these conversations for you, ensuring you do not say anything that can hurt your claim.
Take Legal Action Before You Run out of Time
Time is of the essence when it comes to these car accident claims. The statute of limitations is a law that dictates the maximum amount of time you have to file a legal claim following an alleged offense. If you do not file your case by this deadline, you cannot pursue legal action to obtain the compensation you need for your losses and harm.
In California, the statute of limitations to bring a personal injury claim following a car crash is two years from the accident date. However, this time can change depending on whether any exceptions apply to this rule.
That is why, following a car collision, it is essential to reach out to a skilled motor vehicle accident attorney as soon as possible. Your lawyers can not only figure out the deadline to file your legal case, but they can also make sure that all your legal motions and documents are prepared correctly and filed with the appropriate court before time runs out.
Just because you may have years to file your case, it is never in your best interest to wait that long. The longer you wait, the higher the likelihood is of evidence disappearing, memories of the incident fading, and witnesses no longer being able to testify-all issues that can impact your chance of being successful in your legal suit.
Contact an Experienced Motor Vehicle Accident Attorney Right Away
After a motor vehicle accident, you already have enough on your plate. The last thing you want to worry about is preparing strong legal arguments and obtaining relevant and detailed evidence to prove your case. However, to secure the money you need, it is required that you establish what happened, who was at fault for your crash, and the extent of your damages.
Fortunately, with an experienced motor vehicle accident attorney on your side, you will not have to take on this legal battle alone.
Instead, once you retain legal professionals, they can:
- Go over your car crash with you in detail, evaluate your legal claim, and determine if you have a viable legal case.
- Address all your questions and concerns about the accident and your legal proceedings.
- Provide you with the legal support you need during this challenging time and help you determine the legal options you should pursue.
- Thoroughly investigate your car accident and secure the evidence needed to show fault and damages.
- Hire experts, such as accident reconstructionists, financial specialists, and doctors to validate your claim.
- Ensure that all the wrongful parties are held accountable for your accident, and the injuries you endured.
- Negotiate with the other side, including the insurance company, and go after a just settlement offer on your behalf.
- Head to trial if the other side is not willing to negotiate fairly and fight for the successful resolution of your case.
If a motor vehicle accident disrupts your life or the life of a loved one, do not wait any longer to seek the legal help you need. Instead, contact an experienced and knowledgeable car accident attorney today for a free case evaluation, and let a lawyer show you how they can fight for your rights and go after the financial damages you deserve.