If you have been injured in a San Diego car accident, you can easily become distracted and make critical mistakes that could possibly jeopardize your rights. It’s critical that you make efforts to preserve vital evidence or refrain from making statements that can be used against you. This blog summarizes the steps you need to take after a car accident in order to protect your rights.
Before Leaving the Scene of the Car Accident in San Diego
The most important thing you need to do after an accident is to verify whether you or any of your passengers have been injured. Immediately verify that everyone involved is conscious and can move without assistance. If someone is unconscious or cannot move, make sure you do not move them unless they are at risk of further injury, as emergency personnel will be better able to care for them. If anyone ]needs immediate medical attention, make sure to promptly call 911.
The next thing you should do is to move your car out of the road, if possible. This is important for safety reasons. If you decide to file a lawsuit later, experts that specialize in accident reconstruction can demonstrate how the accident occurred even if the vehicle has been moved.
The next step to take is to contact the police and stay in your vehicle until they arrive unless it is unsafe to do so. Everything you say or do at the scene of the accident can be used as evidence against you in court. For that reason, it is important to limit your time having conversations with the other drivers, as you may say something that will later be held against you.
Once the law enforcement officers arrive, make sure you write down information such as the officer’s name, badge number and jurisdiction. Give them any information they may request, including your driver’s license and proof of insurance. Do not volunteer extra information, but make sure you provide accurate answers to their questions.
Before you leave the accident scene, you should get contact information from any possible third-party witnesses who may have seen the accident, ask other drivers for their contact information, as well as their insurance information including their provider and policy number. If you have a camera or a phone with a camera, you should take as many pictures as you can, showing damages to other vehicles or other property, personal injuries, skid marks and important road signs or signals. You should also look around for any possible surveillance cameras and contact the property owners and request they save the video footage. This footage is often deleted after a short period of time unless it is saved.
After Leaving the Scene of the Car Accident in San Diego
The first thing most people do after leaving the scene of the accident is to contact your insurance carrier. Alternatively, you may wish to call an experienced personal injury lawyer. Insurance carriers have a vested interest in paying as little as possible for your injury. They often will request a statement from you and may say something that could harm your case. An attorney will ensure you are entitled to fair and appropriate compensation for your injuries. Your attorney may also act as your liaison with your insurance company, making sure your rights are protected.
If you have not received medical attention at the scene of the accident, you should go to the Emergency Room or Urgent Care clinic in order to document the extent of any observable injuries. If you only have minor injuries, you should still set up an appointment with your primary care doctor to get a full examination.
Additionally, you should promptly notify your insurance carrier, but do not sign anything, especially a release, without first speaking to a personal injury or car accident attorney.
Contact a Skilled San Diego Car Accident Attorney Today
For additional information about California auto accident laws, or to discuss your case with a qualified and experienced San Diego car accident attorney, please call a dedicated attorney at Martinez & Schill 619-512-5995, or fill our the “contact us” form and we will be in touch to discuss your case.