Steps to Take After a Motor Vehicle Accident in California
The personal injury lawyers at Nadrich & Cohen will fight to protect the rights of car accident victims and ensure they receive the compensation they deserve for pain and suffering, medical expenses, lost wages, and other damages. If you have been involved in an accident, there are important steps to take after a motor vehicle accident in California that can protect your rights and your claim, to give your case the best chance of success. These steps will help you avoid hassles with defense attorneys and insurance claims adjusters and will assist you in obtaining the fair compensation you deserve for your injuries and other damages.
Even if you don’t believe you’ve been seriously injured, you still need to contact the police. The police should always be contacted if significant property damage or personal injuries have occurred.
Remain at the scene until the police have arrived. If anyone is injured, a 911 dispatcher will send first responders to provide emergency medical attention.
Obtain Contact Information of Eyewitnesses
Often, by the time the ambulance and police officers arrive at the accident scene, eyewitnesses are already gone. Because of this, it’s important for you to identify anyone who witnessed the accident and obtain their contact information. This will include obtaining their full name, address, and phone number. If the negligent driver tries to change their version of the accident, witnesses will be crucial to proving who is responsible.
Using the camera on your phone, take photos of anything you believe may have contributed to your accident, such as debris in the road, broken traffic lights, missing traffic signs, or inclement weather. Take photos of the damage done to all of the vehicles involved and take photos of your injuries. Make sure you take photos from different angles, to get a complete picture of the accident scene. These photos will be used as important evidence in your personal injury claim or lawsuit.
Exchange Information with the Other Driver
Exchange your insurance information with the other driver. Do not be confrontational. Just exchange your contact information, driver’s license numbers, license plate numbers, and insurance cards. If the other driver seems aggressive, avoid speaking to them and wait for the police to arrive. A police officer will be able to obtain their insurance information and can provide that to you.
Seek Medical Treatment
If you do not want to be taken to the hospital in an ambulance, have a friend or family member drive you to the emergency room or see your personal physician as soon as possible. If an injury is left untreated it can become significantly worse. If you fail to seek medical treatment or delay treatment for several days following the accident, an insurance adjuster may suspect that you’re not seriously injured, or they may claim that you were injured sometime after the accident. Even a delay of a few days is too long. In some cases, signs of an injury may not appear for several hours or days after an accident, which is why it’s so important that you have yourself examined by a medical professional as soon as possible.
Obtain a Copy of the Accident Report
In many cases, there will be no eyewitnesses and you and the other driver involved may have conflicting stories regarding how the accident happened and who is to blame. A police officer will fill out an accident report, documenting how the accident occurred and who they believe was at fault.
You must obtain a copy of the accident report for your own benefit. Your attorney can use the accident report as evidence in a personal injury claim. Keep in mind, the paper you receive from the police officer at the scene of the accident will just be an exchange of information and not the actual accident report which will be filled out and filed later by the police officer. An attorney at Nadrich & Cohen can obtain an accident report on your behalf. However, if you would like to obtain a copy of the report on your own, you can contact the local law enforcement agency and request a copy.
Avoid Speaking to the Other Driver’s Insurance Company
In most cases, an insurance adjuster from the negligent driver’s insurance carrier will be assigned to your claim before you’re able to speak to a lawyer. This can happen as soon as the day following the accident. The claims adjuster will ask if they can record your statement. Whether or not you’re considering hiring a lawyer, you should always avoid giving a statement to the other driver’s insurance adjuster. An insurance adjuster will often ask questions that are confusing and misleading. This is done to get the accident victim to admit partial or full blame for the accident. An insurance adjuster will also try to get you to downplay your injuries. An insurance company is not on your side.
Giving a statement can damage your claim, especially if you gave conflicting information to the police officer at the scene of the accident. Instead of providing a statement, tell the claims adjuster that you have an attorney and instruct them to refer all future questions to your legal representative.
Report Your Accident to Your Insurance Company
You must also immediately report the accident to your insurance company. Explain what happened and provide them with the contact information for the other driver and any eyewitnesses.
Contact a Car Accident Attorney
Getting a copy of the accident report is just one of the many important steps that must be taken after a motor vehicle accident. If your car accident resulted in damages and injuries, you may be experiencing pain and suffering, emotional distress, and dealing with mounting medical bills, and other expenses related to the accident. You may be out of work at this time, while the other driver’s insurance company is harassing you, hoping you will accept their low settlement offer. Because you may say something that can damage your case, you should not attempt to deal with the insurance company on your own. An insurance company’s goal is to pay an accident victim as little as possible, if anything at all.
Fortunately, the car accident attorneys at Nadrich & Cohen can help. If your accident was caused by the negligent actions of another driver, you may be entitled to damages from the negligent driver’s insurance carrier, or through a lawsuit.
You may also be able to recover out-of-pocket costs, in addition to restitution for intangible damages including pain and suffering. Our lawyers understand what you’re going through. We will take the burden off you by handling all communication with the insurance company, filing all the required paperwork for your claim or lawsuit, and we can handle any other legal requirements and hurdles.
Areas We Serve
At Nadrich & Cohen, we service the following areas in California:
Contact Nadrich & Cohen Today
If you have been involved in an auto accident in California, contact the attorneys at Nadrich & Cohen. Don’t rush to settle your claim as quickly as possible, especially if you have been seriously injured. Our attorneys will investigate your case and gather vital evidence that can prove the other driver should be held responsible for your injuries and other damages. You must take legal action now. Contact Nadrich & Cohen Accident Injury Lawyers today at 800-718-4658 or text or email to schedule a free case review. We can discuss your case and answer any questions you may have during your no-obligation consultation. At Nadrich & Cohen, we will work tirelessly to hold the negligent driver responsible and ensure you receive the compensation you deserve for your injuries, pain and suffering, and other damages.