The first steps you take following a car accident are crucial if you want to ensure as complete a recovery as possible for your damages. If you have been injured due to another driver’s negligence, your first concern should be your personal health and safety. Knowing what to do immediately after suffering a car accident injury can make a tremendous difference in the outcome of events to follow. A car accident attorney is a great resource after you have handled your most immediate needs after an accident.
It’s natural to feel uncertain and scared for the future in the face of all the potential damages a car accident can cause. A misstep immediately following your accident can significantly complicate your route to recovery. Hiring an attorney as soon as possible after a car accident is the best way to prevent mistakes and procedural errors from interfering with your recovery.
Immediately After Your Car Accident
As soon as the accident is over, you may be in pain and in shock, depending on your injuries’ severity. If you are seriously hurt and unable to move, you must wait for paramedics to arrive. Do nothing that might aggravate your injuries in this situation. If you are well enough to move around, check yourself and your passengers for injuries before attempting to open your door and check on the other drivers involved. Only do this if you feel safe doing so.
It is legally mandatory for any driver involved in a car accident that causes injuries, death, or property damage to report the accident to 911 immediately. Call 911 if no one else has done so and do not leave the accident scene until the police and emergency responders arrive. They will allow you to leave once you have answered their questions. If you are seriously hurt, they will arrange transportation to the hospital and will likely attempt to interview you about the accident once you have stabilized from treatment.
Remember that when you talk to the police about your accident to be as honest and clear as possible, but do not admit fault even if you think you were partially to blame. At this point, you should have an idea of the extent of your injuries. Your attending medical team can provide you with a medical report of your injuries. This document, along with the police report of the accident, are two of the most critical documents you will need to secure compensation for your losses.
Hire Legal Counsel as Soon as Possible
Do not make the mistake of thinking your car accident claim is so simple that you can successfully secure the compensation you need entirely on your own. You will likely need to deal with at least one insurance company soon after your accident before you can explore additional legal action, such as a personal injury claim against the driver who injured you. These steps will be much easier and faster if you have a car accident attorney representing your interests.
Your attorney can draft your claim for insurance coverage and weigh your options if available insurance is insufficient to cover your losses. Once an insurance carrier realizes your claim has legal representation, they will be far less likely to unjustly challenge or delay your claim. The sooner you hire an attorney after your accident, the sooner you can explore your options for recovery.
Be Careful of Your Words
One of the most important things to remember after a car accident is to choose your words very carefully whether you’re speaking to the police or an insurance claim adjuster. Even seemingly harmless turns of phrase such as “I’m sorry” or “I couldn’t help it” can be very damaging if these parties construe these words as admissions of guilt. California is a pure comparative negligence state, so a plaintiff could potentially lose a portion of their recovery from a civil claim if they are found partially liable for causing their claimed damages. Choose your words carefully and consult with your attorney if you are unsure how to approach a conversation with an insurance carrier representative.
If you just experienced a car accident and are unsure what your best next steps are, the Law Office of Black & DePaoli, PC can help. Our team has successfully handled many complicated car accident claims. We believe rapid response is the best approach to securing an injured driver’s compensation after an accident. Contact us as soon as possible after a car accident to discuss your legal options with an experienced and compassionate car accident attorney.