With more drivers on the road in California than ever before, it is more likely that you will be involved in an auto collision. Since these accidents cannot be anticipated, they naturally evoke tremendous stress and worry when they occur. Unfortunately, this also leads to drivers involved in these accidents making very poor decisions on many fronts, which can ultimately cost them should they choose to consult a Los Angeles car accident lawyer regarding future litigation. Rather than let a moment of not thinking clearly cost you and your family the compensation needed to cover medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and property damage, here are some tips to keep in mind regarding what to do after an auto collision.
Don’t be Charged with Hit and Run
If you want to make sure you are not charged with hit and run by police, always make sure that when an accident occurs, you stay at the scene until it has been secured and police give you permission to leave. If you choose to leave before authorities give you permission, or even worse fail to stop once the accident takes place, police may choose to charge you with hit and run. If this happens, you will need the services of an experienced and knowledgeable attorney from West Coast Trial Lawyers, since these charges can be very serious.
Assess Your Injuries
Once you get over the shock of being involved in an auto collision, make sure you assess your injuries and those of anyone else involved in the accident. This will not only help rescue personnel when they arrive on scene, but also allow you to provide basic assistance to others until help arrives.
Always Call Police
Unless an accident is very minor, always call police to the scene of your auto collision. In doing so, they as well as rescue and fire personnel will arrive at the scene to treat the injured and make the accident scene as safe as possible. But most importantly to you and your potential legal case, police will also investigate the accident and file a report where they assign initial blame for who caused the accident. Once this report is filed, you should make sure your car accident attorney obtains a copy from police. If this report suggests the other driver caused the accident, your Los Angeles accident attorney may have just what they need to file a successful lawsuit on your behalf.
Obtain Driver and Passenger Information
While the accident report will be crucial to proving your case, it will also be very important to obtain driver and passenger information while at the accident scene. To make sure you and your auto injury lawyer will be able to get in touch with these individuals, always make sure you get not only their names, addresses, and phone numbers, but also such information as email addresses, insurance information, and license plate numbers. By having this information, your car accident attorney will be able to get answers to additional questions while planning your legal strategy.
Always Speak to Witnesses at the Scene
If you are able to do so while at the scene, always attempt to speak to anyone who may have witnessed the accident. Whether it is other drivers who were nearby, passengers, or pedestrians, always make sure you try to get their accounts of how the accident occurred. Since their recollections of the accident can fade in a matter of days or sometimes even hours, it is crucial you obtain this information while it is still very fresh to them. Also, just as you need to do with other drivers, make sure you obtain the necessary contact information from any witnesses. Once you have this information, give all of it to your Los Angeles accident attorney, since each witness will probably be interviewed by your attorney in an attempt to gain further information about certain aspects of the accident.
Use Your Smartphone for Photos and Videos
If your smartphone is still working after the auto collision, put it to good use by taking as many photos and videos as possible of the crash scene. In these situations, it is better to take more photos and videos than may be needed, so don’t be hesitant once you begin. Concentrate primarily on damage to each vehicle, visible injuries such as lacerations or bruises sustained by anyone involved in the collision, property damage, road conditions at the time of the accident, traffic signs and signals near the accident scene, skid marks, and even open containers of alcohol or drug paraphernalia in other vehicles that may indicate the driver was impaired when the accident happened. Once your attorney at West Coast Trial Lawyers has this evidence, they can go to work analyzing it and incorporating it into the legal strategy for your case.
Choose Your Words and Actions Carefully
When you are involved in an auto collision, it is only natural your emotions may be running high not only at the accident scene, but for days or weeks following the accident. Therefore, to ensure you maintain a legal posture that puts you in the best possible position to win your case, choose your words and actions very carefully. For example, while at the accident scene, it is best to refrain from saying such things as “I’m sorry” or “I’m fine” to anyone. If you do, police may put these words in their report, or the other driver may use this to show you admitted fault for the accident or that you were not injured as a result of the collision. Along with being careful at the accident scene, also be careful if you are on social media while your case is playing out. In many cases, your auto injury lawyer will advise you to stay off social media until your case is resolved. However, should you choose to ignore this advice, use discretion when posting pictures or writing comments. In all likelihood, your social media accounts are being looked at by not only the other driver, but also the driver’s attorney, insurance company, and maybe even private investigators to see if there is anything that can be used against you.
Visit a Doctor
In many auto collisions, drivers sustain injuries such as whiplash, herniated discs, concussions, or even traumatic brain injuries. However, many of these injuries do not display symptoms for hours or days after the accident. Because of this, many people believe they are not seriously injured and choose not to seek immediate medical attention. However, this is a huge mistake that can lead to losing a lawsuit. If you fail to have your injuries immediately assessed by a doctor, you run the risk of having an insurance company state your injuries were not related to the auto accident. Therefore, it is highly recommended you let yourself be brought to a hospital from the accident scene, or at the very least visit a doctor within 24 hours of the accident.
Since these cases can be complex, contact West Coast Trial Lawyers for additional information. Once you do, you can schedule a consultation and begin working with a car accident attorney who has a track record of success in winning these cases.