Being injured in a car accident is a traumatizing experience that can cost you tens of thousands to millions of dollars in damages. Surely, you will want to recover damages after an auto accident but this is not always the easiest thing to do considering the number of legal challenges you will have to overcome to receive compensation.
We invited our San Francisco car accident attorney from the Allegiance Law to spell out some of the keys do’s and don’ts after a road collision in California.
The Do’s (what you should do to recover damages after a car accident):
- Call the police and let them write a police report. If the damages are minimal and there is only insignificant property damages, calling the cops is optional.
- Collect the following information from the other motorist: name, address, phone number, driver’s license number, insurance coverage information, policy number, etc.
- Speak to the eyewitnesses, if any, and write down their contact information. You might need their testimony if your case goes to trial.
- Take pictures and videos at the scene of the car accident. Take photographs from different angles, focusing on the car wreckage, skid marks, your injuries, the placement of the vehicles, and other things that may help your lawyer and accident reconstruction experts establish fault.
- Notify the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) about your accident in case of personal injury, death, and/or property damage that exceeds $750. “Do not forget that you only have 10 days to notify the DMV, and you will have to do this even if you were not at-fault for the accident,” says our experienced car accident attorney in San Francisco.
- Seek medical attention. Do not make the common mistake of waiting several days before seeking medical attention. By doing this, you may put the validity of your personal injury claim in jeopardy and, therefore, reduce the value of your compensation.
- Be honest with your primary treating physician and do not exaggerate the severity of your injuries. Also, do not forget to tell your doctor about all your pain and suffering, as you may be able to recover damages for your pain and suffering as part of your personal injury settlement as well.
Speak to your insurance company only after you have consulted with your San Francisco car accident attorney. Failure to seek legal advice after an auto accident can result in the loss of your right to bring a personal injury lawsuit, as insurance companies in California will do whatever it takes to deny your coverage or minimize the value of your compensation.
Preserve all physical and visual evidence after an auto accident and share them only with the best car accident lawyers in California.
The Don’ts (what you should NOT do after a motor vehicle accident):
- Do not give any statements to the police if you are feeling under pressure, disoriented, in pain, or too traumatized, as you may not be able to articulate your side of the story properly.
- Do not speak to the at-fault party, his/her insurance company and lawyers before consulting with your lawyer. You have a right to refuse to talk to them if you are not represented by an attorney. Moreover, you are not required by law to give any recorded or written statements after a car accident if you do not want to.
- Do not sign any documents offered by your insurance company’s adjuster, the other motorist’s insurer, or anyone else. Speak to your attorney and show him or her the documents you are being requested to sign as you may be waiving your right to sue the other party. In many cases, the at-fault party’s insurance company may request you to sign an authorization allowing it to get access to your medical records and employment information.
- Do not discuss your car accident or injuries with anyone other than your attorney. And do not post anything on your social media accounts until you have received a settlement or verdict, as your posts will be monitored by the other party and his/her lawyer as well as insurance companies. Anything suspicious may prompt them to invalidate your claim or argue that your injuries are exaggerated or non-existent.
- Do not settle or go to trial before consulting with a skilled car accident lawyer in California first.
Contact the Allegiance Law for a free case evaluation. Call at 415-404-6395 or complete this contact form.
Posted in Car Accident Attorney