If you’ve just been injured, you may feel confused and might be going into shock—and so it may help to remember how there are two crucial things to do as soon as possible and one thing NOT to do. Afterwards, there are additional steps that can be taken but, as an initial list, items include the following:
Call law enforcement after the accident and don’t leave the scene (unless you need immediate transport to an emergency room). The police officer will conduct a preliminary investigation and record what can be observed; talk to involved parties and witnesses; analyze the accident scene; review vehicle damage; and make a determination of fault. When it comes to proving liability, the police report is a central piece of evidence.
In some cases, it’s clear that an injured party will need to be transported to a medical facility from the accident scene. Other times, the person who was injured may be reluctant to do so, worried about the costs—but our recommendation is to make medical attention a priority, even if you don’t believe that injuries are serious. It can take days to months for the full extent of injuries to manifest themselves. Plus, when an injured person doesn’t seek prompt medical attention, the other party’s insurance company may claim that their injuries weren’t really that serious.
Insurance companies will contact injured parties quickly after an accident to get a statement before there is a chance for the injured persons to take in what has happened. The human body is a wonderful thing and can flood the system with chemicals that temporarily block or reduce the experience of pain—and giving a statement during this time frame can be problematic later on, once the extent of injuries is becoming more apparent.
So, rather than talking to insurance agents about the details of the crash, simply report the accident to your own insurance company and then reach out to a car accident attorney who will have your interests at heart. Do ask your insurance company how to arrange to have your car towed from the site, if applicable.
These are the most crucial 1-2-3 items to remember after you’re injured in a car accident. If possible, there are other actions that make sense to take.
The more evidence about the accident that you can safely gather, the better. Take photos that can be helpful, later on, and—if you are able—talk to witnesses and get their contact information. If you decide to file a personal injury lawsuit, this information can be invaluable. If the other party disputes information, then what you’ve collected can bolster your claim.
Record details about what you’ve experienced. The reality is that it isn’t unusual for an injured person to forget details after the trauma of the crash. Notes can include information about the weather and any related visibility issues, anything you observed right before, during, or shortly after the accident, and so on. These notes can be helpful if you consult with a car insurance lawyer.
An out-of-state car accident can be more complicated than one that happens within the state where you reside. Protocol would still include contacting law enforcement, seeking medical attention, and not giving statements to insurance companies, but differences in the process will also exist. It isn’t likely, for example, that you’d be able to see your own doctor right away, but be sure to schedule an appointment with your usual physician as a followup as soon as you can.
In general, auto insurance policies will cover accidents that happen in a state other than your own, so you can report the accident to your insurance company as you would with an in-state accident. Usually, you’ll be assigned an insurance adjuster from your own state although some insurance companies will provide you one from the state where the accident took place.
If you plan to investigate the possibility of filing a lawsuit to obtain compensation for your injuries, hire one who is experienced in the laws where the accident took place. So, with a car accident in Los Angeles, you would contact a Los Angeles car accident lawyer, even if you live in another state.
This is when you can share the details of your accident, including the police report, your medical records and bills (including but not limited to emergency room ones), information about the other driver, insurance specifics, accident photos, and witness contact information.
In California, available compensation may be awarded for medical bills, lost wages, loss of future earning potential, and property loss for the damage done to your vehicle. General damages may also be considered, ones that don’t have an easily calculated monetary amount. These can include emotional distress; pain and suffering; disfigurement that causes emotional pain; the inability to have children because of injuries sustained in the accident; the loss of an extremity and its corresponding psychological issues; and loss of consortium.
Here’s an additional consideration: punitive damages. These can be awarded if the person at fault was especially negligent, perhaps driving while intoxicated. These damages are intended to punish the person for their carelessness and to serve as a deterrent to other drivers.
When you speak to our Los Angeles car accident lawyer, you can be confident in our commitment and ability to work tirelessly to advocate for you. We’ll treat your case like we would one from our own families. If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident in Los Angeles, contact us online for a free consultation or call (747) 241-8288 today.
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