What to do after a Car Accident
Steps Following a Car Accident in Riverside, CA
Being involved in an automobile accident can be a traumatic experience and may result in a whirlwind of consequences. Being prepared can help you remain calm while you are getting medical assistance and protecting your rights. With accidents becoming more frequent every year, it is important to be aware of the steps to take after a car accident.
The first priority following a car accident is to call for emergency medical assistance for anyone injured in the accident. If possible, you should help anyone who is injured; however, if you are not medically trained, do not attempt to move a seriously injured person unless leaving the person where they are would put them in risk of greater injury or harm.
Accident Scene Information
Depending on your injuries, you may not be physically able to take the following steps. You or someone on your behalf should:
- Obtain the information of the other driver including their name, address, driver’s license number, insurance information, vehicle owner’s name and address (if different from the driver), and the make, model, and license plate number of the vehicle;
- Take pictures of the accident scene including the surrounding area (i.e. any obstructions, traffic signals, vehicles, etc.) and any injuries;
- Obtain the names and contact information for people who witnessed the accident. Independent eyewitness testimony is very valuable in a personal injury claim when the other driver is denying fault.
See a Physician
If you were injured, see your family physician as soon as possible. You could be suffering from an injury that may not have been immediately recognized. In some cases, the soreness you feel in the days and weeks after the accident may be an indication of a more serious injury. It is always a wise decision to have a physical exam after being in a car accident.
Repair Your Vehicle
By law, you have the right to repair your vehicle at the shop of your choosing. Obtain written appraisals to submit to the insurance company for the property damage claim. You can settle the property damage claim to have your vehicle repaired without settling the bodily injury claim. However, before signing any releases, make sure you read the fine print to verify the insurance company is not including language in the release that affects your bodily injury claim. If you have any doubts, it is wise to consult with a personal injury attorney.
Keep Copies of Everything Related to the Accident
Keep copies of any and all documents that relate to the accident including medical bills, receipts for medication, statements regarding property damage, and evidence of any other out-of-pocket expenses (i.e. hiring someone to mow your lawn or perform household chores because you are unable to do so due to your injuries).
Never Discuss the Accident or Sign Documents for the Insurance Company
Insurance adjusters contact accident victims as soon as possible following an accident to obtain written and/or recorded statements and signed releases. Their objective is to get in contact with you prior to you consulting with an attorney. In doing so, they hope to obtain evidence to use against you to justify making you in offer below the compensation you deserve.
The insurance company is not on your side. They are a business and their goal is to have the largest profit margin possible. Therefore, insurance companies try to pay as little as possible for automobile accident claims. If the insurance adjuster or anyone on behalf of the other driver asks for a statement or asks that you sign documents, do not agree until you have discussed your case with our office.
Contact Heiting & Irwin Attorneys At Law for a Free Consultation
Insurance companies have a team of legal professionals and others working for them to investigate the accident. These individuals are highly trained in ways to mitigate the company’s liability so it does not need to pay you the full value of your claim.
To combat the insurance company and even the playing field, you need your own team of experienced accident attorneys fighting for you. Our experienced and knowledgeable staff will thoroughly investigate your claims to identify and preserve key evidence that will be used to maximize your compensation.
Being involved in a car accident can be stressful and painful. Let us take the stress off your shoulders so you can focus on your recovery while we focus on holding the at-fault party responsible for their actions.
If you need a car accident attorney in Riverside or anywhere in southern California, contact our office to schedule a free consultation. You can call our office at (951) 682-6400 or contact us online.