You take your personal safety seriously. When on the road, you put your own safety and that of your passengers and fellow drivers first. This is not an attitude shared by everyone. Some people believe the rules don’t apply to them. They are so dangerous when they get on the road and put everyone at risk. If you have been injured in an accident caused by such a person, you do have legal options.
What to do After a Car Accident
A car accident is a sudden and quite violent event. It can leave you shaken and confused. It will take you a moment to realize what happened. Once you have regained your senses, you should take the following actions:
1. Remain at the scene
You must remain at the scene until the police arrive, take your statement, and tell you that you are free to go. Leaving the scene of an accident is a criminal offense. You can be prosecuted and put in jail if convicted.
2. Verify injuries
You should assess your condition and those of the people in your car. You may not feel pain right away, but that does not mean you are okay. You should check for broken bones and serious bleeding.
3. Call emergency services
Do not assume someone else will call 911. Do it yourself. The operator will ask questions about the condition of everyone in the car. You should give them as much information as you can. And don’t worry about delays. The 911 operator will dispatch police and ambulance to the scene soon after your call.
4. Exchange information
You will then need to exchange personal and insurance information with the other driver. Be sure to get their name and license plate number. Be friendly and courteous. Even if you know that they caused the accident, you need not tell them so. And you should not admit fault for the accident. You should aim to keep the situation calm.
5. Take photographs
You will probably have your phone with you. Use it to take pictures of the damage done to your car and the accident scene.
6. Speak to witnesses
Speak to the people who witnessed the accident, especially those who seem eager to say something. If you can, ask them to describe what they saw. And always get their contact information. You will need later.
7. Go to the hospital
You should allow yourself to be taken to the hospital. Even if you feel alright, it is important to be examined and evaluated by a trained physician. An emergency room doctor will have the expertise and equipment to spot injuries that you can neither see nor feel. If you have been banged up badly by the accident, you should take photographs of your injuries before they are cared for.
8. Document everything
Be sure to get a copy of your medical records. You should also
take notes on everything you are told by the doctor who treated you. Jot down your own memories of the accident—everything that happened before and after the event.
9. Call a lawyer
As you recover, you will need to start thinking about the future. Your first call should be to a car accident personal injury lawyer. You should contact a car accident personal injury lawyer before reporting the incident to your insurance company. The priority of the latter will be their financial interest; your lawyer will be the only one looking out for your best interests.
Why You Need a Lawyer
You need someone who will be on your side. You need protection against the forces that will begin to gather against you if the other driver is found to be at fault for the accident. During the first consultation with a car accident personal injury, they will ask you to recall the events that led to the accident. You should respond to the question as truthfully as you can. Refer to the notes you took if necessary. It is important to establish a timeline and a solid base of facts. These will form the basis of your legal strategy.
The other driver’s insurance may offer you a low dollar settlement to pre-empt any legal action you may take. You should not accept such an offer until your auto injury lawyer in los angeles has had a chance to review it. Indeed, you should refer all communication and correspondence to your auto injury lawyer. You do not want to accidently say or do anything that will put you at a disadvantage or weaken your case against the other person.
If the money offered by the insurance company compensates you for medical bills, lost wages, and the pain and suffering you have experienced, your lawyer may advise you to accept it. If you were seriously injured in the accident, you may need more money than is initially offered and your auto injury lawyer will press the insurance company. If the latter refuses, then you will need to sue them.
The Impact of a Serious Accident
A serious accident can put you on your back for weeks or months. It can compel you to undergo a series of painful and invasive surgical procedures to get healthy again. All the while your bills will continue to pile up and you will be without the means to pay them. Additional time will be needed for recovery and rehabilitation. If the accident is bad enough, you may be forced to give up your livelihood. If you have suffered a permanent disability because of your accident, you will need to change your entire lifestyle, which may include having assistance devices installed in your home and hiring in-home care professionals.
All this costs money. And if you are like most people, you do not have the thousands of dollars it takes to meet these demands lying around. You need help. The person whose recklessness and inattention put you in the situation should bear some of the financial burden that you have incurred. They can be made to do so through their insurance company.
What Your Lawyer Will Do
West Coast trial lawyers help people like you get the compensation they deserve. If the insurance company of the driver whose recklessness put you in this situation refuses to pay, you can force the issue through a lawsuit.
The Los Angeles accident attorney who takes your case will go beyond the official accident report. The law firm you hire will send their in-house private investigators to look further into the circumstances surrounding the accident. One of the first things they will do is re-interview the witnesses. Having the names and contact information of such witnesses will make this task easier.
The police may not have gotten all the relevant information from their eyewitness interviews. Not everyone is open to dealing with the police, but they may not mind speaking to a civilian investigator. Speaking to such witnesses may give your Los Angeles accident attorney new insights into how the accident took place. One of the witnesses may have even recorded the entire accident on their camera phone. Such evidence can prove the veracity of your claims.
If you have been injured in an accident caused by the recklessness of another driver, you need legal representation. West Coast trial lawyers can help you sort through your options.