Car accidents occur when a motor vehicle collides with a pedestrian, another automobile, animal, stationary objects or road debris. Car accidents usually lead to property damage, personal injuries, and even death to those who are involved. There are several factors believed to greatly contribute to the occurrence of most car accidents. These factors include;
- Design of the car
- Road design and its environment
- Reckless driver
- Impairment as a result of alcohol and drugs
- Over speeding
- Bad weather conditions
Car accidents have the ability to leave you and those involved with permanent lifetime disabilities and even loss of loved ones. This, therefore, has negative financial effects on the victims and their families due to huge medical expenses and rehabilitation. Some of the common car accidents in Los Angeles include:
- Head-on collisions
- Side-impact collisions
Motor vehicle accidents are unpredictable and most stressful experience. In as much as no one would wish to ever be involved in a car accident, the unfortunate occurs and therefore, you should always be prepared. Make sure that you always have the following in your car; emergency flares, cones, and warning triangles. The importance of this apparatus is that in the event of an accident, you will have to use them in alerting other road users about the situation. This is one way of preventing further damages and injuries to the victims at the scene and helps prevent more accidents. Whenever you find yourself involved in a car accident, there are some important things to do to protect yourself legally especially when you are not at fault. Here are the steps you ought to take following a car accident:
Check on all passengers and drivers involved in the accident
The first step that you should take is to check yourself and the other persons at the scene for injuries and ensure that everyone is alright. In case you are not seriously injured, you can help move the other victims to safety. If you there are those who are raising alarm of being in serious pain, the best course of action is to seek immediate medical help to prevent the injuries from causing fatalities. After relocating to safety, whether you are hurt or not, make sure that you seek medical attention to be sure you are fine. Some of the injuries are not immediately apparent and this means that you could be having internal injuries and bleeding which of course are life threatening. Most importantly, make sure you acquire a detailed copy of the medical report from the doctor. Also, keep a record of your medical treatment by requesting for bills and receipts obtained from pharmacies, doctors, hospital and repair estimates. You will need this to prove expenses incurred during the whole process. Moreover, ensure that you follow the instructions of the medical practitioner including making consequent medical visits and taking the medications as per the prescription. This will not only help you recover quickly but it also helps eliminate a situation where you will have to be held liable for your own injuries, which obviously means a reduction in the amount of compensation you are entitled to.
Contact local law enforcement officers
In case there is great damage to property, loss of lives, or serious physical injuries, you should make sure that you call 911 for police emergency response. This is significant as the police will come and create a report about the incident. On the arrival of the police, comply with them to ensure a well-detailed report is obtained. Remember to share with them exactly what took place. In case you are not so sure about some factors, it is good to let the officers know. Ensure the information you give to the office is not a product of speculations or guesswork, since the matter at hand is extremely delicate. In addition, confirm that all the statement made by other victims concerning the accident is accurate. If there are questions regarding your well being, you better not respond but tell them you are not sure. This is because injuries or pain caused by a car catastrophe may not be apparent immediately after a collision. Do not forget to obtain contact information, name, and badge number of the responding police officer at the scene. One more important thing, ask for a copy of the police report and ensure that what is recorded is accurate. The report will be used by your attorney to support your case.
Pull over your car
Immediately a traffic collision occurs involving your car, the first thing required of you is to stop. You should then call 911 for emergency response. It is advisable not to leave the scene as it is considered a crime and you never know, you could be labeled as the at-fault driver. However, you can only leave the scene if you or other victims are seriously injured and immediate medical attention is required. Be calm and be careful not to confront the other driver.
Preserve the accident scene
It is important to ensure that the scene is preserved until the police officers arrive. If you are not seriously hurt, try and warn other motorists using the same road about the accident. You can achieve this by either switching on your flashers or erecting cones and flares. During the night you can leave your lights on and if they are not functioning make use of a flashlight. You should also protect your car. Do not rush it for repair, hold on until the arrival of police who will properly assess it and establish a comprehensive report. The main reason for doing this is to provide concrete proof that can soon after be used by your lawyer.
Collect information from the persons involved and witnesses
This is the primary responsibility of the police who respond to any accident scene, to record all the contact information of the individual parties caught up in the event. However, in case they did not or took too long to arrive, make an effort of talking to the other victims and record personal details about them. Some of these details may include
- Name of victims
- Physical address
- Telephone number
- Vehicle registration number
- Driver’s license
- Vehicle plate numbers
- Insurance company and policy number of the other car
- Number and budge of officer at the accident scene
- The police report number
You can also talk to willing witnesses and get more information from them about the incident. Politely, ask them to share what they saw and request them to give you their contact information. This is important as you and your lawyer may need them later. Conversely, do not be penitent about a thing while talking to other parties. Make sure you do not utter nor act in a manner that could suggest you otherwise, compose yourself. In fact, the best thing to do is not discussing the accident with anybody, even friends.
Another way to collect information is taking pictures at the scene. In the photographs, make sure that you fully cover the whole scene including damages to your car and other vehicles involved. This should also cover injuries sustained by all victims. Take photographs of the road and weather condition at the scene. These pictures are important as your attorney can use them to establish the possible cause of the accident. Given that not all car accidents are as a result of careless driving but can also be caused by other factors such as improper posted road signs, poor roads, and bad weather conditions. If this is the case, your lawyer will then establish which entity is to blame and then file a lawsuit on your behalf.
Inform your insurance company about the incident
When contacting your insurance firm, be carefully on the type of information you disclose to them. They are amongst those you can talk to about the mishap apart from the police and your Los Angeles attorney. Do not answer to an agent from the other driver’s insurance company before consulting your lawyer or insurer. In case they insist to get your statement concerning the same, refer them to your Los Angeles attorney. The kind of information you provide to your insurer should be accurate. Most importantly, ensure that you only provide them with the basics which mean that your role in this case is to just let them know that you have been involved in an accident. Do not try to make negotiations with the insurance providers since their interest is to make profits for their stakeholders while ensuring that you get the lowest compensation possible. Do not allow them to get access to your medical documents because they may use it to prove that your injuries are as a result of a past accident. Therefore, if you get a call or visit form an insurance adjuster; make them know that you cannot talk to them without your attorney. If you answer their questions, you never know if they are making a recorded statement, and this implies that it is easy to provide them with information that could be used to incriminate you and reduce the amount of compensation you deserve. Avoid resolving for early settlement. Before signing any agreement, consult your lawyer first.
Obtain a property damage valuation
In some incidents, car owners face frustrations from their insurance company such as denial or under compensation claims. Do not settle for anything less than what you believe is the value of damages sustained, instead find two different mechanics to assess your car damages and get their different repair estimates. Thereafter, notify your insurance company adjuster of your apprehension. In case you do not accept the compensation value offered by your insurer, you can then seek advice from your legal representative on what to do next.
Get in touch with a qualified Los Angeles Attorney in Car Accidents
If you or a loved has sustained serious injuries due to another car driver’s negligence, it is paramount to seek legal help as soon as possible. Car accidents can be complicated and therefore, you need someone with the skills and experience of evaluating fault in a car accident. Car accidents can be as a result of different factors and this means that there are different parties that can be held liable for your injuries and suffering. A Los Angeles attorney can be able to obtain concrete evidence to support your claim because they have the expertise and resources. Your attorney will be able to advise you on the steps to take after the accident and also evaluate the amount of compensation that you are entitled to following a car accident. Most importantly, it is important to remember that California law has a statute of limitations for personal injury cases. In the case of a car accident, you must file a lawsuit within 2 years from the time of accident. However, you only have 6 months if a government entity is involved. This therefore implies that you should take a step to get legal advice as soon as possible to ensure that you are not barred from any recovery and to also improve the chances of collecting evidence while still fresh.
A car accident can cause a permanent change in your life and comes with severe injuries, emotional trauma, pain and suffering and even in some cases wrongful death. Depending on the extent and severity of your injuries, you are entitled to compensation for medical expenses, rehabilitation, lost wages, impairment of earning capacity and even for the loss of a loved one. At Los Angeles Personal Injury Attorney, our car accident lawyers are dedicated to helping victims who are suffering due to the negligence of another party. We work with other specialists including medical practitioners, accident reconstruction experts, and expert witnesses. We are always ready to offer legal assistance to our clients. While we are compassionate with clients, we are aggressive with opponents.