10 Important Steps after an Auto Accident
Auto accidents can be stressful, frustrating, and downright scary. Dealing with an auto accident correctly and immediately is a key factor is ensuring the best results possible for your case. Please take these guidelines into consideration in order to stay calm and prepared in the event of an automobile accident:
- Stay at the scene of the accident. It is crucial for all parties involved in the auto accident to stay at the scene, especially considering if there are any injuries or fatalities. Fleeing the scene after an accident can have the horrific result in criminal charges.
- Check everyone for injuries. Check yourself and your other riders to see if they’ve sustained any injuries. Seek medical attention right away for anyone who has been harmed. If anyone has sustained a back or neck injury, do not move them (this can cause further injury). Wait for proper medical professionals to arrive to handle the situation.
- Call the police as soon as possible. In the state of California, it is important to contact your local authorities if the automobile accident causes a significant amount of property damage, severe injury, or death. Double check that your police officers fill out an accident report and be sure to obtain a copy of it if it is not given to you right away. It is also recommended to take note of the names and badge numbers of the officers for future information that may be needed from them.
- Exchange the proper information. Be sure to gather as much information about the other party as possible. We recommend you retrieve their names, phone numbers, driver’s license numbers, license plate numbers and insurance information. Be sure to keep conversations limited as some phrases such as “I’m sorry”, “It was my fault” or “I didn’t see you” can be considered an admission of guilt.
- Gather witnesses. If there are any witnesses on scene of the accident, speak with them to find out what they saw. Gather their information as well, such as their names, numbers and addresses in case they will need to be contacted at a later time.
- Contact your automobile insurance company. It’s important to inform your insurance company of the accident as soon as possible. Be honest and report as much as you can. Being upfront with your insurance company is very important, because lying or failing to provide certain information can lead to claim denial and serious trouble. Consult with an experienced auto injury attorney before making any formal, recorded statements to anyone.
- Take a lot of pictures at the scene of the accident. Creating a record of pictures is vital in order to file an insurance claim or possible lawsuit. Take pictures of the scene immediately after the accident takes place in order to get the best idea of the scene the moment the accident took place. If it is not possible for you to take pictures right away, return to the scene ASAP to take pictures. Please remember though, the larger the time gap between the accident and the pictures, the less helpful the photos will be to your case. Take pictures of the damage done to your car and (if you have them) provide pictures of your car before the accident to show how much damage was done. Also take detailed pictures of any injuries sustained in the automobile accident by you or your passengers.
- Maintain records of any medical treatments. Any injuries sustained in an automobile accident can require a ton of treatments and follow up appointments. You may need to seek treatments performed by your doctor, a chiropractor, physical therapist and other medical professionals. Keeping track of all visits and treatments, as well as advice, notes and recommendations made by your doctor, will prove your medical expenses in court.
- Track your injuries. We recommend you purchase a journal in order to state how your injuries have progressed in the days and weeks following the auto accident. Be sure to note how the injuries, symptoms and pain have affected your daily life. It is crucial to mark down any tasks you were able to perform prior to the accident but can now no longer perform due to injuries sustained.
- Consult with an accident injury attorney! Speaking with a skilled and knowledgeable attorney can help you create a viable defense if you are at fault or help you maximize your settlement value if you are injured!
It’s true that accidents happen! If you find yourself in an auto accident in California, try to remain calm and follow these steps. If you have any questions, call your local Doctor of Chiropractic and Accident Injury attorney to help you through the process so you can get back to enjoying your life!