Six Things You Should Do After a Car Crashprotecting Your Rights
car accident can be a traumatic event, regardless of whether it was a relatively minor fender-bender or a devastating crash. In the moments that follow a motor vehicle collision, you may feel confused, overwhelmed, and unsure of what to do next. It is, however, important to take action in identifying and treating injuries and to document the circumstances of the crash as much as possible. Doing so can help you protect your rights and your eligibility to collect compensation if your accident was caused by someone else.
If you have been involved in any type of car, truck, or motorcycle accident, you should:
- Look for injuries and get medical attention – First take stock of yourself and determine if you are injured. If you are able, check others for injuries, including other drivers, passengers, and pedestrians who may have been involved in the accident. If you can render first aid, do so, but be ready to call 911 for emergency help;
- Notify the police – While you may not want to get the police involved, notifying the authorities about the accident will likely offer you a great deal of protection. California law also requires you to report your accident to the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) within 10 days if anyone is killed or injured or if property damages exceeds $1,000;
- Exchange information with everyone involved – If you are not seriously hurt, do your best to obtain the name, address, phone number, license plate number, and insurance coverage details from the other drivers and everyone else involved. Do not admit mistakes or apologize, even if you think you were at fault;
- Gather evidence – The aftermath of the accident may seem chaotic, but you should gather as much information as you can before you leave the scene. Take photos of the location of vehicles and damage sustained, as well as other potentially important details such as traffic lights, signs, weather conditions, and skid marks. If witnesses are available, obtain their names and phone numbers. Be sure to check businesses or government buildings in the area for possible security camera video of the crash;
- Get the police report – Once a report is filed with the police, be sure to get a copy of it. If an officer responded to the scene, his or her observations will likely be important in determining who was at fault. If the police report seems inaccurate based on your recollection of events, it is crucial to know that right away so that you can take action to protect your rights; and
- Contact a lawyer – Even if fault seems obvious, it can still be difficult to collect the money you need to cover your medical bills and property damage. A qualified car accident lawyer can review your case, help establish fault, and assist you in pursuing the compensation you deserve.
If you or someone you love has been hurt in a car crash, you may be entitled to collect damages for medical and rehabilitation expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering. The skilled Monterey County personal injury lawyers at Corsiglia McMahon & Allard, L.L.P. can help you explore your options for seeking the compensation you need. Call (408) 298-7200 for a free consultation.Sources