When you are involved in a car accident, you should know what to do. The first few hours of the accident are crucial and so are the next steps you take. Before you even hire a car accident personal injury lawyer, it is important to make sure everyone is safe. You may also want to get started on the insurance claim process, but you should also understand the rules that you need to follow.
A car accident lawyer in Los Angeles can guide you through the whole procedure. You need an expert willing to fight for your rights after you have gained any injuries, whether physically or psychologically.
You or other people involved may have severe injuries. Emotions may also be high, which may lead you to not know what steps to take after the accident. There are a few significant things that you should do while at the scene of the incident and after you leave. Here is a list of actions you should do:
1. Do not leave the scene.
One of the most common issues with drivers and passengers is that they tend to leave the accident scene. Perhaps you have watched it in the movies but it is not appropriate in real life. Wait until you know it is fine to do so. Leaving, especially if another person has sustained injuries, can cause even bigger issues.
If someone got killed, you can end up getting a serious criminal charge if you leave the area. You may be tagged as a hit-and-run driver.
2. Check on everyone.
Another typical problem with those involved in an accident is that they assess property damage first. If you have other people in the car, you should make sure everyone is okay. You may require medical attention as well as those in the vehicle with you.
If someone is unconscious, you should never move them. The only exception is if you need to keep the person away from a hazard. Always wait for qualified medical personnel to check on this individual first. The same thing should be done even if the passenger or driver has a neck or back pain.
3. File a police report.
Accidents often cause a devastating amount of property damage. They can also lead to injuries or even death. Regardless of the outcome, it is necessary that you call the police. Request that a police report be filed. When the cops arrive, you should always try your best to get their names at least. If possible, obtain their badge numbers as well.
You have the right to read and review the police report filed. This way, you know if it is accurate. Also, you can use it to point out whose fault it truly was.
4. Get information on the people involved in the accident.
If you are a passenger of one of the cars, you should ask for the names of both drivers involved. Get their addresses and contact numbers as well. You are allowed to request for their license numbers if you wish, along with basic insurance information. You should do the same thing if you are one of the drivers.
Meanwhile, if there are passengers, you should also ask them their names and contact numbers. It also helps to know their addresses and other basic details about them. Whether you are the driver or one of the passengers, you should always be cordial and polite when talking to other people in the scene. Additionally, if they ask for your information, you should provide it to them.
5. Never apologize.
One of the biggest mistakes that you can ever commit when you are involved in an accident is if you say sorry. You should not apologize no matter what and for anything. For example, you should not say that you are sorry for running the red light. Even if you did, it will be something that can be taken against you.
At this point in the accident, you should only talk about the information you need as mentioned above. If you say sorry about anything for whatever reason, you may be admitting your liability for what happened. Therefore, you could be charged legally for the injuries. It makes sense now to a car accident lawyer in Los Angeles.
Even if you know you are at fault, you should not apologize. The lawyer will explain to you why it might still be unclear if you are truly blamable for what occurred. Sometimes, both parties could be responsible where one of them was primarily at fault. Try your best not to admit that you are guilty unintentionally and more importantly, unnecessarily.
6. Approach some witnesses.
Most frequently, there are witnesses in the scene. If what happened remains unclear to you, it helps to talk to other people who may have seen what took place. Get their names, as well as their addresses and numbers if they allow it. You can also ask other locals if there have been other car accidents in the same place.
7. Talk to your insurance company.
Apart from a car accident personal injury lawyer, you should also contact your insurance company as promptly as possible. Tell the representative of the firm that you have been in an accident. Be sure to take your time and explain the facts as clearly as you can. It is possible that the insurance company will conduct its own investigation of what occurred.
8. Do not forget about your medical treatment.
Make sure you keep a log of the names of doctors and physical therapists you deal with. You may have other medical professionals working with you, such as a chiropractor. It will all depend on the extent of your injuries.
Medical expenses can easily drain you even if you have an emergency fund. While doctors help you at this point, it is significant that you keep your lawyer updated at all times.
You should talk to your attorney about the treatments. Provide a detailed account of the medications and therapies you receive. You may be asked to get copies of the medical bills and reports, which will aid your case in proving you paid for medical treatments.
Nevertheless, it is usually easy to document the costs of your medical needs. However, pain and suffering are often a tricky thing to prove. Your lawyer will advise you to record how your injuries have changed your daily life. For instance, missed days at work or your inability to perform certain tasks should all be documented.
Other Things to Do
Of course, it helps if you can take photographs, particularly with your vehicle damage. You may also need to get a property damage valuation, which will help with your insurance. Finally, you should use caution whenever you talk about the incident.
If someone is injured, you should call a lawyer as quickly as you can. Attorneys at West Coast Trial Lawyers should be the only ones to talk to regarding what took place. They will guide you on how you should take the next steps.
If you need help, do not hesitate to contact West Coast Trial Lawyers for additional information. You should only get the advice you need from real law experts, particularly in personal injury.