What to do following a car accident in the San Francisco Bay Area
Being involved in an accident whether on the road or the freeway can be a traumatic experience. Unfortunately, not taking the right precautions can lead to a whirlwind of consequences. That’s why being prepared is so important. Knowing what to do can help you remain calm, get medical assistance if necessary, and also allow you to better protect your rights. With accidents becoming far more frequent with every passing year, it’s important to know what steps there are at the scene of a car accident.
The first priority following a car accident is to dial 911. This is a given if anyone is injured in the accident, but those answering 911 calls will also dispatch law enforcement to arrive at the scene of the accident. The police or highway patrol officer will produce a report of the accident and gather witness testimony, which is important, too. When injuries are involved,you should help anyone who is injured; however, if you are not medically trained, do not attempt to move a seriously injured person unless leaving the person where they are would put them in risk of greater injury or harm, such as a fire, or risk of explosion.
Depending on your injuries, you may not be physically able to take the following steps. If this is the case, you or someone on your behalf should do the following:
- Obtain the information of the other driver including their name, address, driver’s license number, insurance information, vehicle owner’s name and address (if different from the driver), and the make, model, and license plate number of the vehicle;
- Take pictures of the accident scene including the surrounding area (i.e. any obstructions, traffic signals, vehicles, etc.) and any injuries;
- Obtain the names and contact information for people who witnessed the accident. Independent eyewitness testimony is very valuable in a personal injury claim when the other driver is denying fault.
Consult Your Physician
It is always a wise decision to have a physical exam after being in a car accident. If you were injured, you naturally would see your family physician as soon as possible. but you could also be suffering from an injury that may not have been immediately recognized, and your physician may be able to spot something you might not have. In some cases, the soreness, aching, or pain you feel in the days and weeks after the accident may be an indication of a more serious injury, such as dislocated ribs, misaligned vertebrae, bulging disks, or torn muscles in your neck.
Repair Your Vehicle
By law, you have the right to repair your vehicle at the shop of your choosing. Your insurance company will want appraisals and estimates for repairing the property damage claim. You can settle the property damage claim to have your vehicle repaired without settling the bodily injury claim. However, before signing any releases, make sure you read the fine print to verify the insurance company is not including language in the release that affects your bodily injury claim. If you have any doubts, it is wise to consult with a personal injury attorney.
Keep Copies of Everything Related to the Accident
Keep copies of any and all documents that relate to the accident including medical bills, receipts for medication, statements regarding property damage, and evidence of any other out-of-pocket expenses (i.e. hiring others to do your work, or household chores such as mowing your lawn, or performing household chores because you are unable to do so due to your injuries).
Never Discuss the Accident or Sign Documents for the Insurance Company
Insurance adjusters contact accident victims as soon as possible following an accident to obtain written and/or recorded statements and signed releases. Their objective is to get in contact with you prior to you consulting with an attorney. In doing so, they hope to obtain evidence to use against you to justify making you offers far below the compensation you actually deserve.
The insurance company of the other party involved in the accident is not on your side. They are a business and their goal is to have the largest profit margin possible. Therefore, insurance companies try to pay as little as possible for automobile accident claims. If the insurance adjuster or anyone on behalf of the other driver asks for a statement or asks that you sign documents, do not agree until you have discussed your case at Maidenberg Law Group.
Contact Maidenberg Law Group for a Free Consultation
Insurance companies have a team of legal professionals and others working for them to investigate the accident. These individuals are highly trained in ways to mitigate the company’s liability so the company does not need to pay you the full value of your claim.
To combat the insurance company and level the playing field, you need your own legal team advocating for you. Our experienced and knowledgeable team will thoroughly investigate your claims to identify and preserve key evidence that will be used to maximize your compensation.
Being involved in a car accident can be stressful and painful. Let us take the stress off your shoulders so you can focus on your recovery while we focus on holding the at-fault party responsible for their actions.
If you need a car accident attorney in the San Francisco Bay Area, or anywhere in Northern California, contact our office to schedule a free consultation. You can contact us toll free at (888) 520-9617 or contact us online.