Advice From a Car Accident Lawyer: What to Do in a Car Accident
As a successful car accident lawyer I am often asked what to do after a car accident. Here is my advice:
You are driving along, minding your own business and someone crashes into you. Most commonly they rear end your car or they run a red light. Your immediate reaction is “What the …” You are confused, maybe angry, maybe in shock. So now that you are in this wonderful state of mind, how are you supposed to calm yourself and do all the right things in the next few minutes? Well here are 10 suggestions. Put them in the folder that holds your vehicle registration and insurance information so that it will be easy to pull out if you ever need to consult it. I also, suggest having the contact information for a trust car accident lawyer in your glove box. I will keep this brief because when you do need it, you will want it straight, clear and simple.
- Naturally, first check to see if everyone is ok and get them medical attention if they need it.
- Be safe. If you are on a busy freeway, get to a safe place. If there is a chance that your car might get hit again by passing cars, don’t stand in front of it where it can get pushed into you. Stand on the other side of it.
- Exchange information with the other person(s) involved. (Names, addresses, telephone numbers, driver’s license numbers AND insurance information (name of company and policy number).
- Call the police. Get a police report to document that the accident was the other person’s fault. Often the police won’t come if no one was injured (in which case the police just tell you to exchange information and then let the insurance companies deal with it).
- Get the names, addresses and telephone numbers of any witnesses (especially if the police are not going to do a report) so we can contact them later to get them to verify that the accident was the other person’s fault.
- Take pictures. Almost everyone has a digital camera or a camera phone. Take pictures of the scene of the accident, of the cars and of the people involved. These will be helpful later to show how the accident happened and who was involved.
- Get prompt medical attention. In other words, get checked out by a doctor. This is important for two reasons: first, if you are injured, you need immediate medical attention. Second, the medical records will be helpful later to document your injuries. Continue to get medical attention for as long as reasonable (weeks or months etc)
- If you need to miss work because of your injuries, get a disability slip from a doctor to confirm that it is medically necessary for you to take time off. Do this even if you are self-employed (where you don’t need a disability slip to give to your “boss” because you are the boss) because later the insurance company for the person who hit you will claim that you should not have missed time from work or that you took too much time off from work.
- Get YOUR insurance company to pay for the repairs of your car. If the accident is the other person’s fault, your rates will not get raised because your company will get reimbursed by the other guy’s company later. These are the tips that will be helpful if you contact our office and speak with a car accident lawyer. Your company will treat you fairly with respect to fixing all the damage, with respect to your rental car charges and will stand behind you if the car is not fixed to your satisfaction. The other guy’s company will do none of these things.
- If you think there is even a chance that you will be making a claim, contact a car accident lawyer right away. The initial consultation is always FREE and it is smart to make sure that you are doing everything right. Everyone knows that the insurance company for the person who hit you will do anything it can to wiggle out of paying you a fair amount so talking to an experienced lawyer will almost always increase your chances of getting a more favorable settlement.
Drive safe and always be on the look out. If someone gets you anyway, the 10 suggestions above will cover almost every problem you encounter. Also, don’t hesitate to contact our office for a free consultation. As an experienced car accident lawyer, I know how important it is to get proper legal representation.
For more information on this or other car accident related issues contact San Francisco Car Accident Lawyer Nelson C. Barry III.