Vehicular Accident First Steps Checklist
A car accident can happen at any time, anywhere. In 2015 alone, there were 35,092 traffic fatalities in the United States.
It’s scary to think about, but regardless of your safety behind the wheel, an accident can still occur, no matter how vigilant and aware you are on the road.
Accidents can strike like lightning, and they can be devastating to your body and mind alike. Even if you walk away from an accident unscathed, taking the correct actions after an accident might be difficult.
The stress of the situation can cloud and obscure your mind and logic, but you must remain calm and do what you must in order to make the situation go as smoothly as possible.
In the long run, this will only benefit you. If you do end up injured after an accident, taking the proper steps will ensure that any personal injury case you might want to file will go off without a hitch.
So, by following the steps outlined below, you might know how to keep your wits about you and conduct yourself properly after an accident.
If you or a loved one were involved in a vehicular accident in Los Angeles, it’s important that you contact an experienced group of automobile accident attorneys.
Our California car accident attorneys will give you the legal guidance you need.
Remain At The Scene
The most common-sense step, yet one that can be ignored in the white heat of the moment.
Leaving the scene of an accident is never okay. If anyone involved in the accident is injured, even if they’re only suffering a couple of minor injuries, you could be charged with criminal offenses in a court of law.
It might seem tempting to flee an accident, especially if it’s something minor like a fender bender. You might be in a financial situation where you can’t afford any sort of additional fees or financial hardships. The devil-on-your-shoulder might tell you it’s a good idea to slam your foot down on the gas and get out of there.
Whatever you do, don’t give in to that urge.
Instead, take a deep breath and assess the situation with a clear mind.
Check For Injuries
You’ll next want to get out of your car and check to see if anyone involved was injured. This includes yourself.
If anyone seems to be suffering any kind of major injury to their neck or back, leave them be, but otherwise, move or assist anyone who needs help.
Call the Authorities
Calling the authorities should be your next step.
Again, you’ll want to take a few deep, full breaths before proceeding. Talk to the authorities as clearly and succinctly as you can.
An officer should arrive at the scene of the accident soon enough to take down your information.
Trade Information with Parties Involved
You’ll want to get out of your vehicle and check in with the other parties involved in the accident.
Exchange as much information with them as you can at this time. Get their full names, phone number, contact information, driver’s license number, and license plate numbers, as well as everyone’s insurance information. You might want to do the same for any passengers.
Most of the time, the police officer at the scene will create a copy of everyone’s information, but it doesn’t hurt to be as thorough as you can be.
Get in Touch With Witnesses
Although rare, you might want to exchange information with any bystanders or witnesses around.
It might seem overkill, but getting any outside perspectives and viewpoints on the accident might do you wonders if any of the accident’s aftermath leads to a court case. Just like those involved in the actual accident, get the witness’s full name and contact information.
Better to have it and not need it than to need it and not have it, they say.
Document the Scene
Another step that might seem overkill, but getting as clear of a picture of the scene of the accident can be imperative when dealing with insurance claims adjustors, so snap some pictures and take some videos. Your cellphone should do just fine in this regard.
The specifics might slip your mind as time moves on from your accident. Having a concrete, detailed documentation of your accident can only help you.
After the Accident
Next, you’ll want to talk to your insurance company.
This might seem stressful, but like in the prior steps, steady your mind as best you can with some deep breaths. Communicate clearly and with effective detail. Explain to them the accident, the sequence of events, and send them any pictures you have.
Tell them the truth, too. Lying will complicate the situation, and possibly lead to a cancellation of your insurance.
Document Medical Care
If you had any doctor’s visits, procedures, or medication regimens occur as a result of your accident, make sure that you’re keeping accurate records.
As well, if you experience any sort of pain, get medical attention as soon as you can. Not only can an injury’s pain increase as time goes on, but getting accurate documentation of your injuries after an accident will help if you have to go to court.
Obtain Assessment of Property Damages
Get assessments of any and all property damage that occurs as a result of an automobile accident.
You will use this information when talking with an insurance claims adjustor, to properly seek the compensation you are owed.
Be Mindful Of Early Settlements
An insurance adjuster will always seek to lowball the amount of compensation which you’re seeking. At the end of the day, that’s their job.
It might feel tempting, but avoid any and all early settlements you are offered. This is especially the case if the amount you are offered doesn’t meet the compensation you’re seeking.
Instead, you’ll want the help of some attorneys with experience with cases like yours.
Contact a California Law Office Today
An accident can be an overwhelming experience, one that might leave you unsure of how to conduct yourself.
As such, you should get in contact with Los Angeles’ Tawni Takagi today at (310) 954-7248.
With years of experience handling cases like yours, our California car accident lawyers can get you the compensation you are owed.