Suffering an auto accident injury can be overwhelming. Suddenly, you find yourself unable to move through your daily routine, and your injuries may prevent you from performing your job. In addition to focusing on your physical recovery, you are likely facing costly medical bills, lost wages, and other financial concerns. Many car accident victims report changes in their emotional and mental health as well, as symptoms of depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder may arise after experiencing a stressful event. Here are some of the most common questions about navigating the aftermath of an auto accident in Riverside County and what steps you can take to support your physical, emotional, and financial recovery.
1. What Do I Do Immediately After the Auto Accident?
The scene of an auto accident can be chaotic, and it’s common for those involved in the accident to feel overwhelmed and somewhat in shock about what has just transpired. First, assess yourself and others at the scene for any injuries and call for an ambulance for those requiring immediate medical attention. Even though your injuries may not necessitate a visit to the hospital, make an appointment with your doctor within the next few days to determine and document the nature and extent of your injuries.
Next, gather all the insurance and contact information from the other driver(s) involved in the incident. It’s a good idea to contact law enforcement so the responding officer can compile a police report that contains the details of the incident. The officer can also help you gather contact information and statements from witnesses who can shed some light on what happened. However, it’s essential that you refrain from admitting fault in any way. Stick to the details and remain cooperative, but do not apologize or take responsibility for the accident—any admission of guilt can negatively affect your ability to recover compensation later on.
2. What Factors Cause Auto Accidents in Southern California?
Accidents happen for several reasons, but a few common factors may increase your chances of finding yourself in a car accident. Distracted driving remains one of the most widespread causes of auto accidents, with drivers turning their attention from the road to text, call, or converse with backseat passengers. Even a momentary loss of focus can lead to a collision. Other unsafe driving behaviors, such as
driving while intoxicated or speeding, contribute to many car accidents each year. Poor road conditions also contribute to a high number of car accidents each year, with large potholes, missing guardrails, poorly marked roads, and other hazards causing driver confusion or momentary loss of control and leading to a crash.
3. If I Pursue Compensation, What Will it Cover?
Like most states, California allows auto accident victims to recover compensation to support their recovery after the incident. In general, you are entitled to pursue compensation that covers your medical bills. Whether the at-fault party is another driver, the car manufacturer, or another party responsible for maintaining the roadway, they may be held financially responsible for paying your medical bills after the accident. Additionally, you may be able to obtain compensation to make up for any wages you lost due to your injury, as well as damages that cover any pain and suffering you sustained as a result of the accident.
4. How Do I Communicate With the Insurance Company?
Once you have reported the accident to your insurance company, an insurance adjuster will be assigned to handle your claim. It’s important to remember that insurance adjusters have their employer’s best interests at heart, so they may try to get you to admit fault or provide information that undermines or discredits your claim. They often use underhanded tactics to pay auto accident victims as little as possible. Many people find that enlisting the assistance of a trusted auto accident lawyer is the best way to navigate these tricky conversations. Your attorney can step in and communicate on your behalf, advocating for a fair and favorable settlement offer.
5. Do I Need to Call an Attorney?
Most people wonder whether it’s necessary to work with an attorney to file an auto accident claim. While minor car crashes may not require the services of a personal injury lawyer, anyone who has sustained serious injuries that have affected their quality of life, prevented them from working or limited them in some way should consider calling a personal injury lawyer. Your attorney can represent your best interests, build a strong claim, submit all required documents on time, negotiate a fair settlement, and provide you with the peace of mind you need during this stressful time.
If you need help pursuing compensation following an auto accident injury in Temecula or Murrieta, call Hales & Associates, A Professional Law Corporation, today at (951) 489-3320 to discuss your options with a dedicated auto accident lawyer.