If you have just been in a car accident that was caused by another negligent driver, there are several key steps to take to ensure that your rights are protected, your insurance company remains on your side, and the other driver is appropriately held at fault for any damages or injuries caused. Read on for a few essential tips following a crash, and contact a dedicated Glendale car accident lawyer if you or a loved one has been the victim of a traffic accident.
Help Anyone Injured, and See a Doctor Immediately
If you are in an accident, the first thing you should do is examine yourself and your passengers for any possible injury. If there are any injuries, call an ambulance, and let the paramedics examine you. Regardless of whether you called an ambulance, if you have any reason to believe you were injured in the accident, including if the accident was high-impact, see a doctor. In addition to making sure that you are not suffering from a latent injury that may go unnoticed and harm you in the long run, such as a concussion or internal bleeding, it is vital to have documented proof of any injuries related to a crash as soon as possible. Visiting a doctor promptly after a crash will ensure that any injuries you suffer are properly tied to the crash, meaning that the insurance companies and/or the at-fault driver will be responsible for your medical expenses and any other resulting damages.
Call the Police
If the other driver was at fault, they may try to talk you into settling the accident without the police or the courts. It is always better to get the police involved and deal with settlement talks later. In fact, if there was an injury, California law requires you to inform the police or highway patrol within 24 hours. California law also requires that you report any accident that involves injury, death, or property damage in excess of $1,000 to the DMV within 10 days of the accident. Failing to report the accident can prevent you from recovering any damages, including medical or repair expenses, and it can get your license suspended. If there are no injuries and the accident is not blocking traffic, the police may choose not to respond to the scene, but it can only help your case to document the fact that you did call. If the police do get involved, cooperate with their investigation and honestly report the facts as you understand them.
Gather Information, Document Everything, Keep Your Documents
There are a few pieces of information that you should gather after any accident. You should collect the following:
- The other driver’s name and address
- The other driver’s insurance company name and policy information
- Statements and contact information from any witnesses, including the other driver
- Pictures of the accident scene, such as with your smartphone camera
Each person involved in the accident is responsible for reporting it to their own insurance company. However, if the other driver is at fault, they may try to escape liability by not reporting the accident. For that reason, you should report the accident to their insurance company as well as your own.
Keep copies of all related documentation – written witness statements, photos, correspondence with the insurance companies, police reports, etc. All of these pieces of information will help you and your personal injury attorney build the best case possible to ensure that you are properly compensated for all of your expenses and damages.
If you or a loved one has been injured by a negligent driver in California, get help seeking damages from a seasoned professional by contacting the knowledgeable and passionate Glendale personal injury attorneys at McReynolds & Vardanyan LLP for a free consultation at 818-855-2115.