Dealing with the aftermath of a car accident can be extremely difficult. There are steps you need to take, as well as mistakes you need to avoid.
You cannot rely on the insurance companies to help you through the process. You need to take control of the situation, and it is strongly in your best interests to rely on the advice of an experienced attorney.
With this in mind, here are 10 important steps to take after a car crash in Bakersfield:
1. Collect (and Keep) as Much Information as Possible
While you are at the scene of the accident, you should try to collect as much information as you can. This includes obtaining the other driver’s contact and insurance information, as well as the names and phone numbers of any witnesses. Take plenty of photos, too, and keep everything until you can share it with your attorney.
2. Take Care of Your Medical Needs
Following a car crash, taking care of your medical needs should be your top priority. Ride to the hospital in an ambulance if necessary, drive yourself if you can, or get a ride from a friend or loved one as soon as possible. This is important for your health and your claim for financial compensation.
3. Report the Accident to the Police
Under California law, the police must be notified of any accident that results in injuries or death. Section 20008 of the California Vehicle Code states that drivers must “make or cause to be made a written report of the accident to the Department of the California Highway Patrol or, if the accident occurred within a city, to either the Department of the California Highway Patrol or the police department of the city in which the accident occurred.”
4. Report the Accident to Your Auto Insurance Company
In addition to reporting the car crash to the police, you must also promptly report it to your auto insurance company. Your insurance policy will specify how long you have to make a claim, but the general requirement is within 30 days.
5. Avoid Falling for Your Insurance Company’s Tactics
When you report the accident to your insurance company, you need to recognize and take steps to overcome the tricks insurers commonly use after a crash. The adjuster will ask you lots of questions, and you may be asked to sign a variety of different forms.
However, at this point, you should only provide the information that is required in order to comply with your policy. This means sticking to the basics, such as the other driver’s insurance information and where and when the accident occurred.
6. Keep Your Thoughts About the Accident to Yourself
One of the questions your adjuster will ask you is “Who do you think was at fault for the crash?” You don’t have to answer this, and it is strongly in your best interests not to do so.
You should also avoid posting your thoughts about the accident on social media. If you say or post anything that could even arguably be construed as admitting fault for the accident, the insurance companies will use it against you.
7. Contact Your Employer If You Need To Take Time Off
If you need time off from work to recover from your injuries, you should contact your employer as soon as possible. Explain what happened and find out what you need to do in order to comply with your company’s policies.
8. Write Down Everything You Remember
After being injured in a car crash, it is a good idea to write down everything you remember. You should do this while the details are still fresh in your mind and before you start to second-guess or feel unsure about your recollections. These notes will be extremely helpful when discussing the crash with your attorney.
9. Keep a File with All Records and Information
In addition to taking notes about the accident, you should also get in the habit of taking notes about the aftermath on a regular basis. One way to do this is to start a journal where you write down your daily pain levels and the other day-to-day effects of the accident. As you receive medical bills and letters from your insurance company, you should put these in a separate file as well.
There are numerous ways an attorney can assist you after a serious car crash in Bakersfield, from helping you report the accident to calculating your losses and fighting for the compensation you deserve. It costs nothing out-of-pocket to hire an attorney, and you can get started 24/7.
Were you injured in a car crash in Bakersfield? If so, please contact the Law Offices of Mickey Fine at (661) 333-3333 today for a free consultation.