I’ve been in an Accident what do I do?
Here are some simple steps that can be taken when at the scene of the accident.The first thing you want to do is get out of danger. If possible, move to the side of the road, sidewalk or parking lot. If your car is drivable and not in a dangerous spot, then take a couple pictures of the scene and move it to the side of the road.The next thing you want to do is to call 911 and get the police to come out and write a report. If you or another party are injured, then you will also want the paramedics to come out to the scene and if needed an ambulance to transport to the hospital.You will also want to get any witness information so that the police and or your insurance company can talk to them.
You will want to exchange information with the other driver. The most important information to gather is the full name and contact information of the other party, their insurance company and policy number, their driver’s license and license plate number, and the location of the accident. This is all information that will be on the police report as well if the police are willing to come write a report. If the other party admits fault at the scene of the accident when you are talking to them, it would be a good idea to try and record it in case their story changes later when they talk to their insurance company.
Notify your insurance of the accident and get the claims process started. It is important to get the claims process started sooner rather than later because in California we all have a duty to mitigate our damages. What this means is to not wait on starting a claims process because you could incur bills such as storage charges which the other insurance company won’t pay for if they are excessive, so it is important to try and minimize your damages.
It is important to seek treatment quickly after an auto accident. The longer you wait to treat then it will give the insurance company something to argue about whether you are injured or the extent of the injury because people who are injured go to the doctor. It is also important to stay consistent with your treatment and not allow big gaps in treatment. When there are big gaps then the insurance company or a jury may question whether the accident was the cause or if something that happened to the patient during that gap was the reason for going to the doctor.
Consider retaining a California personal injury attorney. An experienced California auto accident attorney can help protect your rights and evaluate all the evidence including the police report to determine whether you have a right to compensation. An attorney may also be able to help you find a doctor who will accept a medical lien. Retaining an attorney will allow you to focus on getting better and not dealing with the insurance companies, your attorney will handle that. Your attorney can also draft an insurance demand letter that is likely to get a settlement offer.