If you have been involved in a car accident that was caused by somebody else’s negligence, you could be due compensation. The amount of compensation that you are due depends largely upon the severity of your injuries, mental distress, or damages.
If you have never had an accident before, then it’s likely that you won’t know what the steps are for claiming compensation. Don’t worry, this article’s got you covered. Here’s everything you need to do if you have had a car accident in the state of California:
Phone the Paramedics
The first thing that you need to do in the immediate aftermath of a serious car accident is to contact paramedics. If you are unable to, then shout for help. Paramedics should always be called to the scene of serious car accidents, even if nobody immediately appears to be injured. The most common injury caused by car accidents is whiplash, which takes a while to manifest symptoms. Most experts recommend staying inside your car until paramedics arrive if your car isn’t smoking or showing signs of extreme wear so that you can be assessed for any serious internal injuries.
Consider Phoning the Police
You may also want to consider phoning the police. The only reason that you should do this is if somebody was seriously hurt or if you think that the person responsible for causing the accident was intoxicated or driving very recklessly. With that said, it’s also a legal requirement to notify the police that an accident has taken place in the state of California. You can do this the day after your accident, although, as already mentioned. If you have phoned the police to the scene of the accident, but they have not taken your details, then you must still report your accident to them afterwards.
Visit Your Nearest Hospital
If your accident did not warrant paramedics being called, it’s still advised that you go to the hospital afterwards. The reason for this is, as already said, you could be suffering from internal injuries that haven’t become manifest yet. Your local hospital’s ER unit will be able to check you out and determine whether or not the accident did seriously injure you. It’s very important to do this. If you are injured, then you should ask the doctor that treats you in the hospital to provide you with a medical certificate, certifying your injuries. This will come in handy when you turn evidence over to your attorney.
Alternatively, Your Physician…
If you really don’t need to go to the hospital, then you should go to your physician the next day. This is so that you can get a medical certificate. It is also so that your physician can check you out and make sure that you haven’t got any yet undetected injuries, such as whiplash. Your physician will be able to write you a prescription if you need any medication, also. A physician’s note is always very useful in court because it can be used to prove that your injuries were severe and that you aren’t exaggerating them.
Acquire Lots of Evidence
If you want compensation, then you need evidence. The best evidence that you can get is evidence from the scene of your accident. If it is possible, on the scene of the accident, try to take videos and photographs. If you can’t but are with loved ones, then you should ask them to do this for you. Evidence will help you to prove your case in court or with the insurance adjuster that your attorney corresponds with. A medical note is also a crucial piece of evidence, as we have already explained.
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Contact An Attorney
Medical and documentary evidence will help your attorney to ensure that you get the compensation that’s owed to you. But why do you need to hire an attorney to get compensation, you might be wondering? The answer to that is explained in an article titled Why Hire a California Car Accident Attorney, where they clarify that there is a lot more to the recovery process than just insurance claims. Insurance claims are typically just the first step. Your attorney may have to take further legal action against the negligent driver, which could involve taking them to court. In addition to further action, an attorney will be able to negotiate with insurance adjusters on your behalf. Insurance adjusters will try to reduce your payout by as much as possible. An expert personal injury lawyer will resist their attempts at lowballing, ensuring that you are adequately compensated for your injuries.
Leave It To Your Attorney
Once you have handed over all of the evidence to your attorney, you need to leave it to them. One thing that many people try to do is to micromanage their cases. You should definitely avoid doing this because it makes your lawyer’s job difficult. If you want your case to be a success, then you need to leave it to your lawyer’s expertise and to trust their decision-making. Don’t try to do their job for them, because it will only result in you irritating them, and you making their lives unnecessarily difficult.
Take Time Off of Work
You should also try to take some time off of work. It isn’t easy dealing with the aftermath of a car accident, especially if it was serious, and you are suffering physical and mental injuries. A component of your compensation claim will be for loss of wages if you have had to take time off work – so with this in mind, don’t force yourself to go in if you genuinely feel as though you can’t. Since you can get compensation paid to you, it makes no sense for you to force yourself to work.
Focus On Your Recovery
You need to focus on your recovery. A car accident can be very damaging, physically and mentally. If you don’t take time off to focus on your recovery, then you could make yourself feel a lot worse. When you force yourself to go back to work, you will burn yourself out. Burnout, on top of your mental or physical injuries, can be too much for a person to manage, especially if you have children or dependents to look after.
If you have had a car accident, then you need to know exactly what to do, so that you stand a chance at getting compensation. It can be difficult to know what to do after an accident if you have never had one before, so follow this article’s advice.