Experiencing a personal injury accident, such as an auto accident, is often a stressful event that leaves the victim confused and overwhelmed. If you were injured in an accident, it helps to stay as calm as possible and remember this list of what to do and what not to do after an accident. Our goal is to help you obtain a faster recovery, protect your legal rights, and minimize any further risks or damage.
What to do after an accident
If you are involved in a personal injury accident:
1. Seek immediate medical attention for yourself, as well as any and all who are injured. Do not move an injured victim until medics arrive unless they are in continued risk of danger in their present position.
2. Call police or proper authorities and obtain a copy of the police report. The police will generally show up on the scene of a serious auto accident. Make sure that you ask for a copy of the report or find out how you can obtain one, as it may contain evidence or witness statements which are important to your case.
3. Contact a personal injury attorney. A qualified attorney can help you preserve your rights and best advise you as to how to protect your interests and obtain the best physical and financial recovery.
4. Keep the scene as is. It is important that the police view the scene as it looked immediately after the accident. However, if your vehicle is blocking traffic and you are able to move it, you may want to do so.
5. Obtain contact information of all other parties and witnesses. You will need the other party’s information for insurance purposes and should you decide to pursue a legal claim against the negligent driver. Witness statement are also critical. Be sure to collect addresses, phone numbers, drivers’ licenses, email addresses, license plates and/or any other information which would allow you or your representatives to contact them.
6. Take videos, pictures, and/or notes of the accident scene. Many people have smart phones, PDAs or other portable electronic devices which make it convenient to record the accident scene and take photographic documentation of any vehicles involved, the surrounding areas as well as any injuries. Witnesses may have even been able to record the crash itself under certain circumstances. Whenever possible, it is important to note the state of any vehicles after the crash, the extent of all injuries, the presence of any stop signs, traffic lights or intersections, visibility issues such as night, rain or fog and all other relevant factors that may have contributed to the accident.
7. Report the accident. In California, the law requires that you report an accident to the DMV within 10 days if there is more than $750 in damage to the property of any person, or anyone is injured (no matter how slightly) or killed. Your accident attorney can help you with this requirement.
What not do to after an accident
If you are involved in an auto accident, do NOT:
• Delay in seeking medical attention.
• Admit fault for the accident, even if you suspect that you may have contributed to it.
• Speak to any insurance representative or sign any insurance documents without consulting an attorney first.
• Delay in seeking legal advice. Many claims have statutes of limitations or strict time limits to file a claim. Failure to file a timely claim can hamper your ability to recover.
If you or a loved one have been injured in an auto accident caused by someone else’s negligence, contact the accident attorneys at Ghozland Law Firm for a free consultation about your potential case.