Motor vehicle accidents happen every day. Distracted drivers, drivers that are under the influence, reckless driving, running a red light, texting while driving and speeding are just a few of the most common causes of accidents involving cars, trucks, and motorcycles. Unfortunately, even in minor cases, an accident can change a person’s life dramatically — and that’s why it’s important to understand the best course of action to take if you or someone you know has been in an accident.
What You Need To Know If You’ve Been In a Motor Vehicle Accident
In today’s blog from the Law Office of Olga A. Koplik, we’re going to discuss some of the most important things to know if you’ve been in an accident. Keep reading, and if you’re looking for a personal injury attorney in Sacramento, please don’t hesitate to give us a call.
What To Do Immediately After An Accident
If you’ve just been in an accident, chances are you’re a bit shaken and may not be thinking clearly. Perhaps you were on your way to work or another important appointment and you don’t have time to deal with an accident right now. However, it’s important to remember that your health, safety, and financial security depend on the action you take immediately following an accident. Here are the steps you should follow:
Contact the police to report the accident, or call 911 if it’s more serious
Exchange information with everyone at the scene
Document the details of the crash as best as possible, including photos
Get eyewitnesses names and contact information
Get the reporting police officer’s name and badge number
Contact an experienced personal injury attorney
Depending on the circumstances and extent of your injuries, you may not be able to do all of these things, but just try to do as much as you can without risking your safety or further injury. Sometimes it’s what you don’t do that is most important. For instance:
Don’t tell anyone the accident was your fault
Don’t sign any documentation unless it’s from the police
Don’t discuss any potential injuries
Don’t make a deal with the other driver to not file an insurance claim
Don’t assume that the accident is too insignificant to act upon
Even if you feel that the accident was a minor one, you should never dismiss it without taking the proper steps. Some injuries can take days or even weeks to manifest and if you left the scene without filing a report, getting the other person’s information, or gathering information, you could be out of luck. While it’s possible that you could be lucky enough to walk away from an accident unscathed, you want to be sure that you’ve done everything possible to make your case if you have to seek medical attention, miss time from work, or in the event that the other people in the accident try to go after you for money.
Frequently Asked Questions
No matter how prepared you are, chances are you’ll still have questions about what to do in the event of a motor vehicle accident. The following are some of the most frequent questions we get. Keep reading, and if you have additional questions or would like to discuss your case in more detail, please give us a call.
Why hire a personal injury attorney if I did everything I was supposed to do?
Accident victims often try to handle the details of their accident, such as working with the insurance companies, on their own. Unfortunately, many people find later that they did something or said something that hurt their claim. The insurance companies have attorneys on their side fighting for them and they don’t usually have your best interests in mind. So, doesn’t it make sense that if they have an attorney, shouldn’t you as well? If the insurance company is trying to offer you a settlement, wants you to give a recorded statement, or is giving you the run-around, it’s always a good idea to make sure you have a dedicated personal injury attorney on your side to help protect your right and fight for you.
How do I know if I have a case?
Accident cases can get very complicated and there’s no way to know for sure if you have a case until we look at all of the details. Minor accidents are often dismissed all too quickly by people who just want to get on with life and forget it ever happened. Unfortunately, not consulting with an experienced attorney first could cost you dearly. Even after you have healed from an injury, you may still have to face ongoing medical bills, time off work, and more.
Should I talk to the other party’s insurance company?
If you suspect that you were not at fault, it’s important to not speak directly with the adjuster from the insurance company of the at-fault individual. That’s because they will likely try to get you to agree to a settlement. Even if what they are offering sounds like a fair deal, never rush to agree to anything. Instead, refer opposing insurance calls to your attorney.
What if I was somewhat to blame for the accident?
First, don’t accept blame for an accident. It’s possible to be found partially to blame and still receive compensation. That’s because, in the state of California, each person who is at fault is responsible to pay for their portion of the settlement. Don’t say something you could regret later. Even if you think that you’re partially to blame, don’t say anything until speaking with your attorney.
Need a Personal Injury Lawyer in Sacramento?
If you've been involved in a motor vehicle accident, it’s important to get the medical attention you need and then contact an attorney who has your best interests in mind. Whether you’ve been in an auto collision, boat accident, motorcycle accident, or another type of accident, the Law Office of Olga A. Koplik can help you get maximum compensation for your pain, injuries, lost wages, future medical care, and more. For more information or to schedule a consultation, contact us online or by phone today.