In an Accident? Important First Steps
1. Call the police and report the accident.
California Law requires those in a car accident that results in injury or death, or at least $1,000 in property damage to report the accident to the D.M.V. within 10 days. Even if you do not believe there were any injuries or that the property damage was minimal, you should still contact the police and file a report. Sometimes people don’t realize they are injured until later that day or the next day.
Photograph your car and the other car too. Photography the scene and the debris field if you can.
2. Go to the emergency room.
Many people think as long as there are no broken bones, wounds or bleeding, they must be okay. Following an accident, many people are in shock and are in no condition to evaluate their own injuries. You could have a closed head injury and not know it. Traumatic brain injuries (TBI’s) can be caused by whiplash or an airbag deployment. Therefore, you should ask to go to the emergency room or go directly there yourself. Even if you decide to forgo the emergency room, you should still be seen by a doctor as soon as possible following the accident to check for other injuries.
If you don’t go to a doctor within a reasonable time following the accident, it will only help the insurance company raise questions about the extent and cause of your injuries. The longer the period between the accident and the doctor’s assessment, the easier it is to argue that the injuries were minor or that there was an intervening cause for the injuries.
3. Contact us.
You and our firm will work together as a team. After you have taken the immediate first steps, you should contact us, even if you are uncertain if you have a potential case. We will listen to your side of the story and determine whether or not you can recover compensation for your injuries. We will work with you to gather information, report to D.M.V if required, monitor your medical care and handle all interactions with the insurance companies and their agents.
We serve as your advocate with the insurance companies. Remember that the insurance companies’ number one interest is protecting themselves, not you. Even your own insurance company will want to minimize its losses.
Insurance companies are more likely to undervalue an offer to an unrepresented person than to someone who is represented by counsel. Once you retain us, all communication between you and the insurance companies must go through us. We will send the insurance companies letters stating as much, which protects you from making any innocent mistakes that could cost you later.
The number one priority is your health. Your main concern should be getting better. Our job is to handle the legal aspects of your case while you concentrate on healing. The number one goal is to make sure you receive the medical treatment you need to recover from the accident. Any possible litigation should always take a backseat to your health. We can refer you to healthcare professionals who will care for you. We are here for you!
For more information, please call DaCorsi Placencio, PC at 1-877-317-8080.
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