In San Diego, car accidents are far too common, resulting in various injuries and even fatalities. Typical types of car accidents include rear-end collisions, single-car accidents, side-impact collisions, vehicle rollovers, and head-on collisions.
If you or someone you know has been involved in a motor vehicle accident, consult an auto accident law firm for help with your claim. Most accidents occur due to driver carelessness, errors, or ignorance of traffic safety laws—however, some result from defective auto parts or failure of critical safety equipment.
No matter the type of accident, you or your loved one could end up with serious injuries or damages. If the cause of the accident is someone else’s mistake or negligence, you can pursue compensation and justice. The sooner you seek legal representation, the more likely you’ll be able to protect your rights and property. Here’s a look at five immediate steps to help safeguard your rights and assets following a car accident.
Report the Incident
In case of injuries following an automobile accident, call 911 for emergency medical services. Sometimes, the quick help of emergency responders can save lives. But even if there are no injuries, you should report the accident to the police.
They will document details about the accident, including time and place, witness statements, injuries, and officers’ view of fault. The report provides a sound basis for liability but won’t be useful in a California court.
Even the officer’s view of fault won’t be presented in court; they may only testify about what they observed. However, in some cases, police officers can serve as expert witnesses to help reconstruct the accident. That said, the police report is useful in locating witnesses and their statements.
If you are in the right state of mind, start gathering evidence. Take photos of the crash scene, including every vehicle involved, license plates, damage sustained on the inside and outside, debris, broken traffic lights, as well as your injuries, bruises, torn clothes, and damaged properties (if any).
Obtain witness information and contacts of drivers involved
Don’t let the involved drivers and third-party witnesses leave. Of course, third-party witnesses are pedestrians, passengers, cyclists, and others who may have witnessed the incident in real-time and can provide unbiased accounts and additional information.
However, act fast because these such witnesses rarely hang around for long. Take their statements and contact details. Take the license numbers, insurance provider’s details, and drivers’ phone numbers in the accident.
Seek medical attention
Don’t hesitate to seek medical attention following a car accident. Even if your injuries are minor or largely invisible, getting checked is highly recommended. The doctor’s report will serve as proof of your injuries. Also, the medical bill will factor into the settlement calculations.
Make sure to get an expert opinion on the potential long-term effects of your injuries. Above all, seeking treatment early will strengthen your claim. Insurers may claim your injuries weren’t serious if you delay seeking medical attention.
Hire a lawyer as soon as possible
Pursuing justice and compensation on your own can be overwhelming. Tort laws regarding auto accidents are complex. Following an accident, you need peace of mind to recover quickly and resume normal activity if possible. Working with an experienced car accident attorney is best.
They can assess your case and determine compensation and work with a team of experts to gather evidence and compellingly present your case. The sooner you procure legal representation, the more likely you’ll be able to protect your rights and seek compensation. They will negotiate with insurers, protect you against insurance bad faith, and even help you pursue litigation if needed.