Getting into a car accident is not your everyday event and no one likes or expects to get into a car accident. Do you know what to do if you were involved in an accident today? Well, here is a simple guideline on what to do and what not to do after a car accident.
1. Stay calm and keep your cool.
Depending on the severity of your injuries, take a deep breath and collect yourself. Be civil and do not get into an argument with the other driver. Do not talk about the cause of the accident or fault – remember that anything you say can be used against you later.
2. Exchange all pertinent information.
This includes names, addresses (both home and business), telephone numbers (home and business), driver’s license number, vehicle license number, and insurance information. Not all of this information is crucial, but you do need at least the basic information of name, home address, driver’s license, vehicle license number and insurance information. If the other driver refuses to provide you with this basic information, you may need to contact law enforcement.
3. If possible, take pictures of the other vehicle.
Most cell phones come with a camera and although it may not be of the best quality, use the camera in your cell phone (if you have one) to take pictures. Because drivers often times have their car fixed without taking a picture, this may be your only chance to take a picture of the other car.
4. If you are injured, call law enforcement and ask that they come out to make a report.
This step is not a necessary step. Nevertheless, it can be helpful in proving your case unless you are the party at fault. Depending on the location of the accident, you may have to contact the Sheriff (streets), CHP (freeway) or LAPD.
5. If you are injured, get checked out by a professional.
If at the scene, you may need paramedics. Otherwise, depending on the severity of your injuries, you may need to visit the emergency room or urgent care. This step depends on the severity of your injuries.
After getting checked out, you may need treatment with a medical doctor or chiropractor. Remember that getting checked out by paramedics, or getting checked out at the emergency room or urgent care is NOT the same as getting treated for your injuries. Depending on the severity of your injuries, you may end up needing surgery or having a cast placed on broken bones – follow up treatment after these procedures generally includes physical therapy.
If you suffer from soft tissue injuries, such as whiplash, strains or sprains and back pain, you will need treatment to alleviate those symptoms. Remember that medication will not heal your injured muscles and without treatment, your injured muscles will develop scar tissue which can lead to long term problems.
Do NOT wait to start on your treatment. Often times, injured parties wait to see if their symptoms subside before seeking treatment – they do NOT and all you will do is hurt yourself physically and hurt your injury case (the longer you wait to get treated, the harder it is to make an injury claim against the other side).
6. Do not discuss the accident with the adverse insurance company.
Do not discuss the accident with the insurance company representing the other side without first contacting an attorney. Never give a statement without speaking with an attorney first. If you end up speaking with the other insurance company before contacting an attorney, do not discuss cause or fault of the accident or your injuries – only discuss your property damage.
7. Do not sign authorization forms given to you by the adverse insurance company.
Insurance companies are notorious for pressuring injured parties into signing medical authorizations, which will allow them open access to “all” of the injured party’s medical records. Insurance companies do not have a right to obtain records that are irrelevant to the subject matter or irrelevant to the injuries sustained by the injured party. So, never sign such authorization forms.
8. Call an experienced personal injury attorney.
The best, and sometimes only, way to protect yourself is to contact an experienced accident or personal injury attorney. Remember that most, if not all, personal injury attorneys take cases on a contingency basis, meaning that the attorney gets paid a percentage of the settlement or the judgment in the case and if there is no settlement or judgment, then the attorney does not charge a fee.
The Mason Law Firm handles car accident cases. The Mason Law Firm is managed by “AV” Rated Accident Attorney Mason Rashtian, who has been practicing personal injury litigation since 1997. Before opening his own practice, Mason worked on the defense side. He now handles plaintiff’s cases and helps victims injured in car accidents. He is very familiar with both sides of litigation and brings a unique perspective to any lawsuit.
If you have been injured in a car accident, please contact Accident Attorney Mason Rashtian of The Mason Law Firm for an honest assessment of your case.
Our Contact Info:
The Mason Law Firm
28494 Westinghouse Place, Suite 202
Valencia, CA 91355