Each of the steps you take after a car accident can impact your legal right to monetary recovery. Some steps could help you protect your legal rights, while others could put your claim for compensation in jeopardy. Key steps include:
- Seek medical attention for yourself and anyone else who was hurt
- Take photos of the scene
- Identify any witnesses
- Do NOT make any verbal admissions or discuss the crash
The guidance of a personal injury lawyer can prove crucial in the days and weeks following a motor vehicle accident, helping you to put yourself in the best position to recover maximum compensation for your losses.
Remain at the scene of the accident
Your first step after a crash is to remain at the scene. Not only could leaving the scene of the accident imperil your personal injury claim, it could result in criminal charges if the other party suffered an injury.
You should remain at the scene of the crash until the police arrive. Once law enforcement is on the scene, they will interview everyone involved in the accident and file a written report.
Seek necessary medical care
While it is important to remain at the scene, you do not have to stick around if your injuries require immediate medical attention. If you were injured in a car accident, your health should be your first priority.
Seeing a doctor immediately after an injury accident is important in more than one way. First, seeking immediate medical care can ensure your injuries are addressed, and the consequences of your injuries are limited. Delaying your treatment—even when the injuries seem minor at first—could lead to unnecessary suffering following an accident.
Seeing a doctor immediately after an accident can also strengthen your personal injury claim. Often, insurance companies will point to the lack of immediate medical attention as a sign that your injuries were contrived or not as serious as you made out. Medical records created promptly following the accident can show a jury that you took the steps necessary to treat your serious injuries.
Exchange information with the other driver
You are entitled to see certain documentation from the other driver following an accident. The same is true for you, as the other driver can ask for that same documentation. This information includes your driver’s license, vehicle registration, and liability insurance card.
While you are required to exchange information with the other driver, that does not mean you should discuss the specifics of the crash. Everything you say at the scene of the crash could be used against you in a pending legal action. An admission of fault could even bring about your own civil liability for the other driver’s injuries. Outside of exchanging the information required by law, avoid speaking with the other driver if possible.
Identify any witnesses
Some accidents are witnessed by individuals without any ties to either party. These third-party witnesses could be pedestrians or other motorists. At the scene of the accident, it is vital to identify these witnesses when possible. The testimony of an independent witness could be some of the strongest evidence in your favor at trial.
Remember, the moments following the accident might be your only opportunity to make contact with these witnesses. Once they leave the scene of the accident, the odds are good that you will have a hard time tracking them down. For that reason, it is important that you obtain contact information from every witness while still at the scene.
Talk to an attorney
The right Los Angeles car accident lawyer can strengthen every aspect of your personal injury case. From investigating the nature of your collision to building a strong case against the other driver, your attorney could make the difference when it comes to obtaining the damages you deserve. To get started, schedule your free consultation with Salamati Law as soon as possible.