Car accidents. We often only hear about them in the news and never expect to experience one ourselves. However, thousands upon thousands of individuals each year have to go through the daunting moments of a crash and the time following it.
Far too often, there are individuals who fail to take the proper action after a car accident simply because they don’t know what to do. As a result, they’re left dealing with the injuries they have sustained with no legal options to which they can turn.
If you’ve been injured in a negligence-related accident, you need to understand what steps come after a car accident in order to protect your rights and options. Here are some of the things you should do immediately following a crash so you can properly prepare for what comes next.
1. Move Vehicles Out of the Road
You should be sure to remove your vehicle from the middle of the road if you can. This is because leaving it there can lead to more potential dangers and accidents. Also, because you’ll need to discuss matters with the other party, getting off the road is imperative.
You may not be able to remove the vehicles from the road completely, but at least making sure you and other parties are off the road and safe is important. You can avoid passing vehicles which, if not careful, can cause more collisions.
If your vehicle is totaled, you may need help moving it from the road. The authorities may request a tow truck to come out and move your car. Be sure to take photos while you can and note that your vehicle was in fact totaled in the accident.
2. Gather Necessary Information from the Responsible Driver
Speaking with the other driver can be an unwanted task, especially if you harbor feelings that the crash was their fault because they were negligent. However, you need certain information to give to your insurance company and legal team.
This includes getting the name and contact information of the driver, his or her driver’s license information, license plate, and insurance information. While you need to speak with the other driver to get some information, you want to be careful with some of the things you’re saying.
Apologizing in any way, or admitting that you didn’t see the other driver, can be construed as an admission of guilt and the liable party’s insurance company may try to use it devalue or dismiss your entire claim.
3. Taking Pictures to Help Build Your Claim
Evidence is key in proving negligence in car accident cases and having the right pictures can be some of the strongest evidence possible. This means if you’re able to, taking pictures after a car accident can be one of the most important steps you can take. This includes pictures of the scene of the accident, the damage to the vehicles, and the visible injuries you sustained.
Taking pictures of the scene of the accident and the location of the damage to your vehicle can be imperative in showing the situation as it happened and what can be used to show fault. This can include showing traffic signals, brake marks from tires on the ground, and the damage on both cars.
You also want to take pictures of any visible injuries you may have sustained. Some insurance companies may try to claim that you had prior injuries or that you sustained the injuries in a separate situation. This can help in showing how fresh the injuries are in accordance with the accident.
4. Get the Medical Treatment You Need
If you’re unable to do any of the prior because of a serious injury, have someone else take care of it for you while you seek medical treatment. Getting medical help immediately is important for several reasons following a car accident.
First, you get the treatment you need right away to start healing. This can include testing to determine what injuries you may have, providing the necessary procedures to help improve you’re your health, and moving forward with your recovery.
Second, getting medical treatment also means you’ll have a medical record documenting your injuries and what potentially could have caused the damage. This is great evidence to use in your car accident case when seeking compensation.
5. Contact a Lawyer to Protect Your Rights
Car accident lawsuits can be very complex and so many people fail to hire proper legal representation to help get through the process. This is a mistake that could hinder your ability to seek compensation from the negligent party.
One of the things you should be sure to do following a car accident is speak with a qualified San Jose car accident attorney who can work to help you understand your legal options and protect your best interests. Legal counsel can be the difference between securing justice and walking away with nothing.
At Caputo & Van Der Walde, we have the experience, skill, and knowledge necessary to help you move forward through the process and seek compensation. You deserve to have someone on your side who is dedicated to holding the negligent party accountable.
When you are hurt by someone else’s reckless actions, know that you have rights and our team is here to protect them. We can explain your options, help you decide the right avenue for your needs, and protect you from being taken advantage of by the insurance company.