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A Personal Injury Primer: Following an Auto Collision

10 Things You Might Do After an Vehicular Collision

The following information while not complete are the top ten suggestions. You may want to keep this information in your wallet or in your car:

1. STOP. Never drive away from the scene of a collision, even a minor one.

2. PROTECT THE SCENE OF THE ACCIDENT. You may prevent further accidents with flares or keeping your flashers on.

3. CALL THE POLICE. Even if there are no serious injuries, call the police. You may need a police report to file a claim with your insurance company. The vehicles involved in the accident should not be moved, unless you are directed to by the police or they interfere with traffic.

4. MAKE AN ACCURATE RECORD. When the police arrive, be sure to tell the investigating officer(s) exactly what happened. If you do not know certain facts, say so. Do not speculate or misstate facts. If you are asked if you are injured and not sure, say you are not sure, because pain and injuries from collisions often develop hours even days later. Do not feel self-conscious to request an ambulance. Never ever argue with a police officer, even if you believe they are wrong; it will never help your case.

5. TAKE PICTURES. Try to have a camera in your vehicle, or a cell phone equipped with a camera. Take pictures of the vehicles. If you have visible injuries, take photos. If you cannot take pictures at the scene of the collision, take them as soon as possible. Substantiating your claim with photos is one of the best forms of evidence.

6. EXCHANGE INFORMATION. Typically, the investigating police officer obtains this information. However, if the police do not arrive timely, you should try to obtain the names, addresses and telephone numbers of all persons involved in the accident, drivers and passengers alike. You should also try to obtain information about the other party’s insurance by asking to see the insurance cards. If there are witnesses, try to get information from them so they can be contacted in the future. If police do arrive, the investigating officer will provide all drivers with a police report number to obtain the police report.

7. REPORT THE ACCIDENT. Notify your insurance company as soon as possible. Many policies require immediate reporting and full cooperation. Find out if you have medical benefits as part of your insurance coverage also known as “med-pay”.

8. SEEK MEDICAL ATTENTION. Often injuries are not immediately apparent. Many of our clients report feeling the most pain a day or two after the collision. Therefore, you should seek medical attention or see your family physician. Even in accidents involving minor impact, you can sustain a serious and permanent injury to your spine. If you lost consciousness or were dazed even for a short period of time following the collision, you may have suffered a concussion or closed head injury.

9. KEEP AN ORGANIZED FILE. Keep all your accident-related documents and information together; including claim number, claim adjuster’s name, names/phone numbers of all contacts, receipts for rental car and all expenses incurred as a result of the accident.

10. PROTECT YOUR RIGHTS. Perhaps the most important thing you should do after an accident is to consult an attorney. An attorney can protect your rights and make sure valuable evidence is not destroyed. Often, insurance companies want to take statements immediately after an accident. It is important that you receive legal advice before providing any statements. An attorney can advise you on issues including getting medical treatment on a lien and/or if you have med-pay.

This office represents innocent victims that were involved in vehicular collisions, representing both the driver and passengers. This office has recovered millions of dollars for our clients in the Inland Empire, San Diego County, Los Angeles County and Orange County.

Please note by reading the information above & herein, no attorney-client relationship has been created. The information provided herein is not to be relied upon as legal advice for your specific legal needs.

Written by Morton J. Grabel

For more information or to discuss your case please call the Law Offices of Morton J. Grabel, here in Temecula at (951) 695-7700. Mort is a graduate from an ABA & AALS Law School and has been an active member of the Bar of California for more than 20 years. He is presently the President of the Mt. San Jacinto/Hemet Bar Association.

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