A car accident can be a jarring and potentially life-changing event. Time seems to stretch in the instant as our minds kick into overdrive, subconsciously recording every detail of the accident. The traumatic experience often leaves a driver dazed and disoriented at a time when he/she most need their wits about them.
Attorneys at West Coast Trial Lawyers know that what you do in the first moments after an automobile accident can greatly affect your chances of being duly compensated for any resulting property damage or injury. If you’ve been injured in an automobile accident in the Los Angeles area, be sure to contact a Los Angeles car accident attorney right away. An experienced auto injury attorney can show you how best to proceed with your injury claim and will assist you in recovering money lost to medical bills and lost wages.
By following the steps enumerated below, you can increase your chances of being awarded the compensation you deserve:
DON’T LEAVE THE SCENE
Aside from being an irresponsible and generally lousy thing to do, leaving the scene of an automobile accident is a crime. Persons who flee the scene of an accident may forfeit their chances for injury-related compensation, and they leave themselves open to criminal charges.
DETERMINE IF ANYONE IS INJURED
Immediately following an accident, find out if anyone, yourself included, has been injured. If someone has, be sure to let the emergency services operator know. Do not attempt to move an injured person, as this may exacerbate an injury and leave you liable.
SEEK MEDICAL CARE
Depending on the extent of an injury, you may not have any choice but to seek immediate medical care. Even if you don’t believe you’ve been injured, though, it’s a good idea to go to the hospital and have yourself thoroughly examined. The full extent of an injury may not be readily apparent immediately following an accident. A record of having been to the hospital will be helpful should an injury become apparent, or worsen.
FILE A POLICE REPORT
If an accident results in injury, or in more than five hundred dollars damage to personal property, a police report must be filed. The experienced attorneys at West Coast Trial Lawyers know that it’s a good idea to file a police report even if this isn’t the case. The full extent of an injury often is not apparent immediately following an accident. Having your accident officially documented can be beneficial should your condition worsen and require further medical attention.
NEVER ADMIT FAULT
The moments following an accident can be disorienting, to say the least. If you aren’t careful, you’re liable to say something that may come back to haunt you, should your fight for compensation lead you to court. For this reason, it is best never to admit fault and to say as little as possible at the scene of the accident.
It’s always a good idea to exchange pertinent information with any and all other drivers involved in an accident. True, this information should be available to you via the police report, but such reports are handwritten and sometimes difficult to read. Be sure to record names, contact information, and insurance information for each driver.
CONTACT YOUR INSURANCE COMPANY
As soon as you are able, report the accident to your insurance company. Describe the accident in as much detail as you can recall, referring to your copy of the police report if necessary. Remember, though, that your insurer is not your attorney. Do not admit fault, even partial fault, to your insurer or to anyone else.
SPEAK TO ANY WITNESSES
Los Angeles accident attorneys know that eyewitness accounts can be extremely helpful to any automobile accident injury case. Be sure to speak with and collect contact information from any witnesses to your accident. Every eyewitness willing to testify on your behalf bolsters your case, should it end up in the courts.
Thanks to the advent of the mobile device, most of us have cameras on our hips at all times. Take advantage of the technology and snap pictures of the accident. Get shots of all vehicles involved, being sure to capture the license plates. Photograph the road conditions too, especially if rain or inclement weather may have contributed to your accident.
BE CAREFUL WHAT YOU SAY/SIGN
Don’t deal with the insurance companies of any other drivers involved in your accident. Doing so is the job of your insurance company. Never give a statement to, or sign anything for another insurance company without first checking with your own insurer and with your attorney.
Keeping a careful log of your injuries and of the damage sustained to personal property as the result of an accident can be extremely helpful when the time comes to fight for compensation. Be sure to note all lost wages and medical expenses, as you’ll want to make sure you are fully compensated for your loss.
CONSULT AN ATTORNEY
If you’ve been injured in an automobile accident in the Los Angeles area, it is absolutely imperative that you contact a Los Angeles accident attorney (https://westcoasttriallawyers.com) as soon as is possible. An experienced auto injury attorney can advise you on how best to proceed in fighting for compensation. In fact, it is reported that people who hire a car accident personal injury lawyer to represent them are awarded two to three times more than those who don’t.
What you do in the moments following an automobile accident can significantly affect your chances of being compensated for damaged property and/or personal injury. By remembering not to admit fault, filing detailed reports for the police and your insurance company, documenting the scene with photos, and exchanging information with witnesses to the accident and the other drivers involved, you can improve your odds of winning compensation.
Perhaps most importantly, be sure to retain the services of a car accident personal injury lawyer. An experienced attorney can guide you through the claims process and help you fight for lost wages and medical bills. If you’ve been injured in a car accident in the Los Angeles area, contact West Coast Trial Lawyers for additional information now.