After you’ve been in a car accident, the steps you take can make or break your claim for just compensation. If you take all of the necessary steps, you can significantly improve your chances of obtaining a favorable insurance settlement. But, if you overlook steps or make mistakes, you could end up without any compensation for your accident-related losses.
Bakersfield car accident attorney Mickey Fine has helped accident victims across California for decades. If you were hurt in a car wreck, he can help you pursue the maximum compensation you need to get back on track.
5 Steps to Take After a Car Accident in Bakersfield, CA
Here is an overview of what you should do after you’ve been in a car accident in Bakersfield, CA:
1. Report Your Car Accident
One of the first things you should do after you’ve been in a car accident is report the accident to the police. This is important for two reasons. First, it creates an official record of the accident. If you call 911 from the scene, the responding officer will (or should) prepare an accident report that states the time and location of the accident and provides information about each vehicle and driver involved. Having a copy of this report will help you avoid several issues when dealing with insurance companies.
Second, you are required by law to report your car accident to the police if it resulted in injury or death. If no one called 911 at the scene, you will need to contact the California Highway Patrol or the local police department promptly. You must also report your accident to the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) if it resulted in injury, death, or property damage in excess of $1,000.
2. Collect as Much Evidence as Possible
While having a copy of the police report is helpful, this is ultimately just one of the numerous pieces of evidence you will need to prove your legal rights. After you’ve been injured in a car accident, there are several other types of evidence you will want to try to collect as well. With this in mind, you should try to collect things like:
- Photos or videos of the scene of the accident
- Photos or videos of the damage to your car
- The other driver’s vehicle and insurance information
- Names and contact information of any witnesses
- Damaged personal items from inside of your car
However, you should not return to the scene of your car accident to try to gather additional evidence. Doing so could be dangerous. Instead, when you hire a lawyer to represent you, your lawyer will send an investigator to gather as much remaining evidence as possible.
3. Record as Much Information as Possible
In addition to collecting evidence, you should also write down everything you can remember about your car accident. This will help ensure that your recollection is not skewed by others’ statements (including the statements of your insurance adjuster) and that you retain all relevant information even once your memory of the accident starts to get fuzzy. Even if you aren’t sure whether a particular detail is relevant, you should write it down so that you can share it with your Bakersfield car accident attorney.
4. See a Doctor for Diagnosis and Treatment
If you are experiencing pain or any other symptoms following your car accident, you should see a doctor right away. This is also important for two reasons. First, it ensures that you will get the treatment you need to recover as fully and quickly as possible. Second, if you seek treatment promptly, your medical records will serve as proof that your injuries resulted from your collision.
5. Prioritize Your Health and Financial Recovery
Once you see a doctor, you should focus on doing everything you can to get better. You will also need to take some additional steps to protect your legal rights. For example, when recovering from serious injuries sustained in a car accident, you should:
- Follow your doctor’s advice (or seek a second opinion if necessary)
- Avoid giving a recorded statement to the insurance companies
- Avoid posting about the accident on social media
- Keep all records you receive that are related to your accident or medical care
- Speak with a local car accident lawyer promptly
Mickey Fine is a Bakersfield car accident attorney who has decades of experience helping drivers, passengers, and their families recover just compensation. If you need help after a car accident, we encourage you to contact us promptly for a free, no-obligation consultation. To speak with Mr. Fine in confidence, call (661) 333-3333 or tell us how we can reach you online now.