What Should I Do if I’ve Been in an Accident?
Many people are shaken after an accident, and it can be hard to know what to do. The steps you take after an accident are important in the event that you need to take legal action down the road. While the following will provide you with a guide, if you can’t remember what to do after an accident, get help from an experienced attorney at the Modesto law firm of Arata, Swingle, Van Egmond & Goodwin.
Steps to Take Immediately After an Accident
Right after an accident, you should take the following steps:
Call the police: The police will investigate the accident and prepare a report, including the information of everyone involved. Police reports can be valuable evidence when trying to establish who was at fault for an accident. Write down the name of the investigating officer and his or her badge number. Let the officer know if you believe the other driver was distracted or under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
Get medical attention: If you or anyone in your car has been severely injured, call an ambulance for assistance. Your well-being is the most important thing!
Exchange information: Gather basic information from everyone involved in the accident, including their names, addresses, license plate numbers and insurance information.
Avoid: You should avoid taking responsibility or apologizing for the accident. Do not leave the scene of an accident or move your vehicle unless instructed to do so. You should also avoid talking about the accident with anyone because these conversations could be used as evidence against you later on.
Next Steps After an Accident
Take pictures and notes: If you have a cell phone camera, take pictures of the accident scene, including both cars as well as the accident scene itself. Try to take photos from multiple angles and locations. Take photos of the surrounding area as well. Photos help preserve the scene and can be used by reconstruction experts to analyze the scene later on.
Contact your insurer: You are obligated to report any accidents you have been in to your insurer.
Go to the doctor: Even if you do not feel like you are hurt, it is important to see a doctor after an accident. Medical records are an important way to document your injuries. Some injuries may not show up right away. Brain injuries from concussions may take days or even weeks to appear.
Do not: give any statements to the other driver’s insurance company, agree to any damages or accept any settlement money.
Do: Call an experienced California motor vehicle accident lawyer at Arata, Swingle, Van Egmond & Goodwin. When you hire a lawyer, it is important to find a lawyer who will go to bat for you.
The Modesto law office of Arata, Swingle, Van Egmond & Goodwin represents individuals who have been hurt in auto accidents throughout the Central Valley and Northern California. If you were injured in an accident, get help by calling us at (209) 522-2211. You can also reach us online.