The Seven Tips You Need to Protect Yourself After a Bakersfield Car Crash
Making the right choices after a car accident can make all the difference. Read over these seven essential steps and commit them to memory.
We even recommend bookmarking this webpage on your smartphone. Pull it up once you’re parked and safe, and proceed with confidence.
Here’s what to do right after a car accident:
1. Take a Deep Breath and Keep Calm
Car crashes are horribly startling things. They happen so fast. If you’re like most victims, you will feel dazed, disoriented, and confused. Some people instinctively leap into action; others break down under the weight of emotion.
Resist the urge to panic. Take one big, deep breath and make the decision to stay calm. Tell yourself you are going to handle this situation and it is going to be okay.
The steps you’ll take next are critical. They’ll be much easier to complete with a clear head. Remember: you aren’t the first person this has happened to, and you aren’t alone.
2. Move Out of Harm’s Way
Wreckage can sometimes stand in the path of oncoming traffic. That puts you and your passengers in even greater danger. Other drivers might not see the wreck until it’s too late.
If it is possible — and safe — to do so:
- Move your vehicle as far off the road as possible.
- Turn on your headlights and flashing hazard lights.
- Stay away from the road shoulder.
- Avoid motorists’ blind spots.
- Get everyone out of the car, but don’t worry about personal property right now.
In some situations, moving your car might be more dangerous than it’s worth. Do what makes the most sense for your safety. Be aware of potential gas leaks, car fires, or explosions.
3. Check for Medical Injuries
An auto accident can be so shocking that you might not be able to feel your injuries. Take a moment to carefully and thoroughly inspect your body. Look for signs of injury.
Once you’ve inspected yourself, look for injuries in your passengers. And, if safe to do so, inspect occupants of the other vehicles too.
If you identify any potential medical emergencies, call 911 immediately and ask for an ambulance. Don’t delay.
4. Call the Police
You are legally required to report auto accidents to the police before leaving the scene of the crash. This is so important. Even if the crash is a very minor one with no damages, you must call the police.
If the accident is serious, call 911. For minor “bump ups,” you might be able to contact the police using a local number. When in doubt, though, just dial 911.
Stay put. It might take a very long time for the police to arrive, especially during rush hour. Regardless, you need to stay where you are until the police arrive and dismiss you from the scene.
5. Gather Evidence
Most auto accidents lead to litigation and/or insurance claims. Gathering evidence while still at the scene can help your case later. Here are some things you should try to do (but never compromise your safety):
- Take detailed photographs of the crash (including all vehicles, passengers, injuries, and road conditions). Both close-ups and wide-shot photos are helpful.
- Write down the license plate number, vehicle description, full name, and contact information of every car and person involved.
- Talk to eyewitnesses as soon as possible — before they disappear! Get their full names and detailed contact information.
- Quickly jot down everything you can remember about how the accident happened and how it made you feel.
6. Seek Non-Emergency Medical Attention ASAP
Even if you don’t think you’re hurt, you should see a doctor as soon as possible. Injuries can take days, weeks, or even months to manifest. Only a physician can determine whether you have suffered harm.
Tell your doctor you were in a car crash and just want to be checked out. He or she will be familiar with the appropriate tests and examinations.
A documented doctor’s visit soon after the crash can prove very beneficial to your accident claim.
7. Talk to Our Bakersfield Auto Accident Attorneys, Not the Insurance Company
The sooner you talk to an experienced Bakersfield personal injury lawyer, the better.
Be very careful about what you say to an insurance company after a collision. It’s so easy to make a mistake — and the insurers are not on your side!
At The Law Offices of Mickey Fine, we can help you avoid mistakes and beat the insurance companies at their own game. We do it all the time. Our job is to put you in the best possible position for a maximal recovery, and the earlier we’re involved, the more helpful we can be.
While it is okay to report the simple fact of the accident to your own auto insurance provider, there is no reason to talk to the other driver’s insurer. Tell them to call your lawyer instead.
Never accept an insurance settlement offer — and do not sign any papers — until you’ve talked to Bakersfield auto accident lawyers you trust.
Contact The Law Offices of Mickey Fine Right Away
Time is of the essence. Please don’t delay. If you’ve been in an auto accident, please contact the experienced Bakersfield auto accident attorneys at The Law Offices of Mickey Fine. We are here to protect you.
If you haven’t been involved a car accident yet, go ahead and store our number in your phone. That way, you’ll have it handy if you ever need it.
• Call 661-333-3333
You can also contact us online. Please reach out right away.