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The Steps to Take if You’re in a California Car Accident

The Steps to Take if You’re in a California Car Accident

Car accidents happen all the time, especially in congested California, where traffic is a way of life and reckless drivers speed when they get the chance. Not to mention, the glare from the sun is always a danger to drivers. Whether or not you’ve been injured in an accident – or you’re afraid you could be one day – you need to know the right steps to take so you have the best chance possible of receiving a settlement you deserve. 

The Law Offices of Robin D. Perry & Associates provide vigorous representation to clients and are a goal-oriented and values-driven firm. We develop creative strategies to win every case, every time and are confident we can help you with your personal injury case. Reach out to us today to schedule a consultation. 

Step One: Call the Cops 

After your accident and injury occur, call local law enforcement to file a written report. This report could be especially helpful down the line when determining who is at fault for the accident. Of course, you don’t need to answer all of the cops’ questions, but you do need to hand over your driver’s license, proof of insurance, and vehicle registration. If the accident was not your fault, then the information you give the officer is going to be especially critical.

Step Two: Collect Evidence 

Do not leave the scene of the accident right away. Instead, stick around and collect evidence. If you have proof that the other driver is at fault, then it could make your case much stronger. It’s important to take photographs of the accident, such as the damage to your car, the other driver’s car, and their license plate. Snap photographs of damage to your belongings if it occurred as well as your visible injuries. Write down the locations of any cameras you see just in case they have footage of the accident, and ask nearby witnesses what they saw. Make sure you collect their contact information in case you need to get in touch with them for further statements.

Step Three: Ask the Driver for Their Insurance Information 

You’ll need the other driver’s insurance information. Ask for their insurance card and take a photograph of it so you can contact them. Give them your insurance information, too. 

Step Four: Do Not Accept a Cash Settlement 

Some drivers get scared after an accident and will offer you cash not to tell their insurance company about what happened. Never accept this cash, because it’s likely not going to be enough to pay for your injuries and other damages. Decline their offer and tell them you’re going to get in touch with insurance instead.

Step Five: Go to the Hospital 

It’s imperative to go to the hospital after you’re done collecting evidence. Get a full check-up and X-rays and let you doctor know about any pain you are feeling, even if you think it’s insignificant. Your injuries could become much worse later on, so it’s crucial to receive treatment for them as soon as possible to avoid them getting out of hand.

Step Six: Follow a Treatment Plan 

Your doctor is going to give you a treatment plan based on your injuries. Perhaps it involves taking medicine like painkillers. Maybe you need to get surgery done or go to specialists for their opinions. You might need to get certain tests done or invest in medical equipment. No matter what you doctor prescribes you for treatment, make sure you follow through and you don’t put anything off. If you do, the insurance company could use this against you and it may hurt your chances of getting a settlement.

Step Seven: Do Not Accept a Settlement From Insurance 

Sometime after your accident, the defendant’s insurance company is going to contact you to offer you a settlement. This is going to be a low settlement, since insurance companies are not in the business of paying out proper settlements. Do not accept it or tell the insurance agent information about the accident. Whatever you say will be used against you, even if you were the victim.

Step Eight: Call a Personal Injury Lawyer 

At this point, you’ll need to get in touch with a Long Beach car accident lawyer. Ideally, you should do this within days of your accident. You can ask your friends and family members if they have any recommendations, as well as do your own research online by looking at other clients’ reviews. Make sure your lawyer has the experience to represent you and they are upfront about what they can do for you. Many personal injury lawyers will offer free consultations, so you can meet with a few before deciding which one to hire for your case.

Your personal injury lawyer will ask you what happened and gather any proof you have, as well as help you collect other proof if necessary. They will pull your medical records, for instance, and look into getting camera footage if they think it could be helpful. Then, once they have the proof they need and you’ve received treatment, they will negotiate a settlement with the insurance company. Typically, a car accident case will end with a settlement instead of going to court. It’s very rare that these cases wind up going to trial, because that’s very expensive and time-consuming. Nobody wants to have to deal with that. If you’re not satisfied with the first settlement, you can always ask your lawyer to go back and renegotiate for you. Remember: Your lawyer won’t charge you anything unless they win your case. Then, they will charge you a commission that you agreed to at the start of the case. There won’t be any surprises. 

Contact Robin D. Perry & Associates

If you have been involved in a car accident and now you need legal representation, then get in touch with the Law Offices of Robin D. Perry & Associates now. No matter what, we will fight on your behalf during your time of need. Call us at 562-216-2944 or contact us on our website for a free consultation.

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