Being involved in a car accident can be traumatic. In addition to the initial shock of the accident, you may be faced with injuries, hefty car repairs and lost income. What you do in the moments and days following a car accident will make all of the difference in how you recover both physically and financially from your car wreck.What to do After an Accident
The first thing you should do when you have been involved in an accident is to make sure you and the other people involved are safe. If your car is disabled in the middle of the road, move it to the shoulder or another safe place to avoid further injury. Call emergency services if there are any injuries, even if they only appear to be minor. Many injuries, especially soft tissue ones, do not appear immediately.
Gather information from everyone at the scene, including the other driver, their passengers and any witnesses. Ask for their insurance information, contact phone numbers and full names in case you need to get statements from them later. Take photos of the scene and include landmarks, traffic signals and weather conditions. Car accidents are cleared fairly quickly, so you may not have time to come back to the scene later to get photos.
What Not to Do After an Accident
Do not leave the scene of the accident until law enforcement and emergency service personnel have arrived. If you leave and the other driver stays behind, they will have the opportunity to give law enforcement officials their side of the story without your being there to challenge them on the facts. They can accuse you of running a red light, failing to signal or any number of infractions, and those facts may be included in a police report.
Don’t apologize to the other driver or admit fault. Apologizing to the other driver is an admission of fault, and can be used against you in court later. If you are concerned about the other driver or passengers, simply inquire about their condition without admitting fault. Don’t admit to breaking any traffic laws, even if you did. If you were texting and driving and they ran a red light, don’t admit your role in the accident. Let their lawyers prove it in court.
Don’t skip your doctors’ appointments. Some injuries take time to appear, so it is vital that you stay on top of your appointments and make sure that you are treated for any conditions that are related to your accident.
Don’t accept a settlement without your attorney present. In many cases, the other driver’s insurance company or attorney may contact you and offer you money for car repairs or medical bills. Do not accept any money or cash any checks from them. If you accept money from the other party, you are essentially forfeiting your right to sue them for the full amount you are owed later. The other party is never going to willingly pay you what you deserve for your injuries and the damage to your car. A judge can award you money for medical bills, lost income and car repairs. Talk to your attorney immediately following your accident and allow him to communicate with the other party or their insurance company.
Why You Need a Lawyer if You Have Been in a Car Accident
There will be a maze of legal issues when you have been involved in a car accident. The other party may accuse you of being at fault, or refuse to pay your damages. If you are found to be at fault, you can lose your driving privileges. There are strict deadlines for filing a claim, and your lawyer will make sure you file all of the necessary paperwork on time. A skilled Los Angeles car accident attorney will understand all of the factors of your case and get you the money you deserve. Your lawyer will also defend you if the other party accuses you of causing the accident.
At the El Dabe law firm, we will treat your case with the seriousness and dignity it deserves. We have worked with many people who have been in accidents, and recovered millions in damages over the years. Let us help you to get the money you deserve. Call us today for a free one on one consultation.