Auto accidents occur every day, even for the most cautious drivers. At any moment, a lapse in judgment or distraction can lead to painful and costly injuries. In 2020 alone, over five million collisions took place across the United States. The aftermath of a car accident can be overwhelming and disorienting, especially if you’ve suffered an injury requiring hospitalization or medical attention. Suddenly, your future becomes uncertain as you face a lengthy physical recovery, financial strain, and other unexpected challenges in the days, weeks, and months ahead. Fortunately, California allows auto accident victims to pursue compensation to assist them with the costs stemming from their injuries. However, the claims process can seem intimidating and confusing for many, especially if they have no previous experience with such matters. Enlisting the guidance of an experienced and knowledgeable Temecula auto accident attorney is the best way to ensure that you maximize your settlement offer and secure the compensation you need to support the multiple aspects of your recovery. Let’s take a look at some of the essential steps you should take at the scene of the accident and during the following days and weeks to strengthen your claim and improve your chances of obtaining a fair and favorable outcome.
Steps to Take at the Scene of the Car Accident
Car collisions can be chaotic, especially when there is considerable damage to the vehicles, and multiple people suffer injuries from the accident. However, by taking the following steps at the scene, you can protect the safety of those involved and set yourself up for success when you pursue a car accident claim later on.
Assess Yourself and Others for Injuries
First, you should assess yourself for any injuries you may have sustained during the collision. Next, check to see whether anyone else was injured, and if so, you should determine whether immediate medical attention is necessary. Call for an ambulance if you or anyone else needs to go to the hospital for evaluation or treatment. Even if you do not think your injuries require immediate medical attention, make it a priority to visit a doctor within the next few days for a full physical assessment.
Contact Local Law Enforcement to Report the Accident
Many people involved in an accident wonder whether they need to call the police to report the accident. If the accident involves property or vehicle damage or if someone sustained an injury, you should contact local law enforcement right away. The responding officer will compile a police report, which serves as an objective account of the factors leading up to the collision. For instance, the police report may include details about the weather and road conditions, as well as the contact information for all the involved parties, including witnesses. When you decide to pursue a car accident claim, you can request a copy of the police report to include with your claim, which can support your position or demonstrate that the other party is at fault for causing the accident.
Exchange Contact Information and Document the Scene
Before you leave the scene, be sure to exchange contact and insurance information with the other driver(s). You will need these details when you file your claim. It’s also helpful to take pictures of the scene with your phone or camera. For instance, you can take photos of your vehicle to show the extent of damage your car sustained at the moment of impact. You can also take pictures of your injuries to illustrate the physical impact of the collision. Be sure to include these visuals in your auto accident claim to strengthen your case and demonstrate the toll the crash took on your vehicle and physical health.
What to Do in The Days and Weeks After the Collision
As you navigate the next few days following the collision, it’s natural to feel overwhelmed and unsure of what steps to take. Here are some key actions to complete as you focus on your physical recovery and financial anxiety over the medical bills and lost wages that may be piling up.
Visit Your Doctor
Even if your injuries did not seem severe enough to justify a trip to the hospital, you should visit a physician as soon as possible for a complete physical evaluation. The medical professional can assess you for any harder-to-detect conditions that do not exhibit obvious symptoms, such as internal bleeding or traumatic brain injuries. What’s more, the medical records established by this visit will strengthen your claim, as they are proof of how seriously you took your injuries and detail the nature and extent of the injuries you sustained at the hands of the other driver. Be sure to attend all follow-up visits, including physical therapy appointments and other treatment recommendations.
Contact a Caring Temecula Auto Accident Lawyer
Navigating the auto accident claims process can be confusing and stressful, especially as you cope with your physical recovery and other unanticipated challenges stemming from the accident. It’s essential to recognize that you do not have to go through this difficult experience alone. Enlisting the guidance of a seasoned and caring auto accident lawyer is the best way to feel more confident and empowered as you navigate the claims process. Your lawyer can step in to handle communications and negotiations with insurance adjusters, advocating for your best interests at every turn. When you receive a settlement offer, your attorney can review it and determine the most strategic path forward to negotiate a more favorable amount to support the various aspects of your recovery. When you have a dedicated attorney by your side, you maximize your chances of securing the compensation you deserve. Let your lawyer advocate for your brighter future while you focus on what matters most—your physical, emotional, and mental recovery.
If you need help filing an auto accident claim in Temecula or Murrieta, call Hales & Associates, A Professional Law Corporation, today at (951) 489-3320 to speak with a dedicated and experienced car accident lawyer.