In the moments after you are struck by another car, you may be in a state of shock or feel overwhelmed with emotion. But, it's important to pull yourself together and follow these steps to ensure you protect yourself and your future:
1. Call for help
Your first priority should be calling for help if you or someone else at the scene is injured. Even if no one has been injured, you should immediately contact the authorities to report the accident and request that a police officer come to the scene. Don't let anybody convince you that there's no need to contact the police. Some drivers will try to avoid having a police officer come when they know they're at fault for the accident. It's important to remember that without a police report, you have no proof of what happened.
2. Exchange information
If the other parties involved in the accident have not been taken away for emergency medical treatment, exchange information with them at once before they leave the scene. Ask for the names, contact information, and insurance information of both the drivers and passengers who were in the cars. Be sure to keep conversation light and do not apologize for anything or admit you were at fault.
3. Gather evidence
By this time, a police officer should have arrived at the scene to collect information and write a formal report. Even though the police will have an official report of what happened, you should still gather evidence on your own. Use your cell phone to take pictures of your injuries, property damage, and the accident scene. If there were any traffic signs or signals that played a role in your accident, photograph these as well. If there were any witnesses who saw the accident, ask them for their contact information so you can get in touch with them later on if necessary.
Be sure to also hold onto any medical documentation related to your injuries. For example, if you went to the hospital or a clinic because of the injuries you sustained in the crash, keep X-rays, test results, and medical bills. These documents will come in handy after you file a personal injury claim.
4. Contact an attorney
People who have been injured in a car accident caused by another driver's reckless or careless behavior may be entitled to compensation. For instance, if a driver runs a red light and collides with you as you legally drive through an intersection, the driver could be liable for your injuries. That's why if you've been injured in a car accident, you should always contact a personal injury attorney as soon as possible.
A personal injury attorney can help you determine whether you have a case against the driver, and can handle negotiations with the at fault driver's insurance company. In fact, it is recommended that you never speak with an insurance company prior to contacting an attorney. Insurance companies will try to get you to agree to a settlement as quickly as possible, often not even giving you enough time to calculate how much your claim is truly worth. Don't make the mistake of agreeing to a settlement that will not cover your expenses. Contact an attorney to discuss your case right away.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident, don't hesitate to contact Rush Injury Law to schedule a free consultation. James Rush and his team will review your case in detail, discuss your legal options, and fight tirelessly on your behalf to recover the compensation you deserve. Call our offices today at 415-897-4801 or fill out the online form on our website to speak with a member of our team.