The following are simple steps to follow after you have been injured in an auto accident.
- Stop/Assess/Call 911: First, stop your car and check yourself and your passengers for injuries. After stopping, make sure to pull your car out of the lane of traffic and onto the safety of a shoulder or a side-street. Next, check for injuries to anyone else involved in the accident, such as individuals in the other vehicles or bystanders. If anyone, including yourself, is hurt, then call 911 immediately.
- Exchange information: After the accident exchange personal and insurance information with the other driver.
- Go seek medical attention: In the event of a serious injury you should visit an emergency room or urgent care facility immediately. In the event of a non-serious injury you should go see a doctor or visit a health clinic as soon as possible following the auto accident. Seeking medical attention is both good for your recovery from the injury and for strengthening your case. Therefore, it is important to visit the doctor ASAP after an auto accident.
- Take Pictures/Get Copies of Medical Reports: These reports are useful in establishing fault and damages in a car accident case. Thus, ask your doctor for copies of any procedures or medical paperwork and start putting together a file of all this paperwork.
- Take Pictures of the Injuries: These pictures are useful in the same manner as the copies of medical reports in that they can help establish fault and damages in your case. Thus, take pictures of your actual injuries and put these in your accident file.
- Keep Receipts: Keep receipts for all hospital visits, treatment, medication, medical equipment needed for treatment, etc. Place all of this into your growing auto accident file.
- Report the Collision to DMV: Under California Law, if you are in a collision which has either more than $750 in damage or resulted in an injury to anyone, then you must report this accident to the DMV within 10 days.
- Speak with an Attorney: It is very important to speak with a car accident attorney regarding your rights and the particularities of your case. An attorney will likely be experienced in handling auto accident injury cases and will know what steps you should take in dealing with your case.
What steps should you avoid after being injured in an auto accident?
- Never settle/Agree to settle: Do not settle until you have completed your medical treatment and have visited an attorney. If you settle too early you risk only being partially compensated or missing out entirely for some of the injuries from the accident.
- Never sign anything: Do not sign anything until you have spoken with an car accident attorney to ensure that you are not falsely admitting fault or waiving your ability to obtain damages for your injuries.
- Don’t feel pressured by the other party: In the aftermath of an auto accident, one party may attempt to pressure or convince you to not file a claim or to settle under the table. Do not cave to this peer pressure.
If you or your loved one has been injured in a car accident, please contact the experienced San Diego personal injury attorneys at Martinez & Schill. We don’t get paid until we recover compensation on your behalf, so call today for a free consultation. San Diego 619-512-5995 or Riverside 951-200-4630.