If you are injured in a car accident, you may be confused about what steps to take next. You know you need to call someone, but whom do you call? Should you call the insurance company? Should you call a personal injury lawyer? Should you call the police? These are all valid questions and the answer to all may be “yes” depending on the circumstances of the crash and what occurred as a result.
Here are some of the people or entities you should call soon after the accident:
The police: As soon as the accident occurs, it is your duty under the law to stop immediately and remain at the scene of the crash. Motorists are also required to exchange information with others involved in the incident such as driver's license, insurance details, contact information, etc. You need to call the police because the local law enforcement agency will respond and generate a report detailing the facts of the crash including who might be at fault. This is valuable information. You not only need to make sure your account of the incident gets into the police report, but also need to ensure that you obtain a copy of the police report.
Injury lawyer: Do you need a lawyer to represent you if you did not sustain any injuries and only suffered minor property damage? Probably not. However, if you were injured in a crash, you need to contact an experienced personal injury lawyer right away. You could look to your family members and friends' circle for referrals to good attorneys. You could search online or at attorney rating websites for information. Getting an injury attorney on your side early on is crucial because he or she will advise you on the best possible course of action, assist you with collecting and preserving evidence and dealing with insurance company.
Insurance company: It is important to contact the auto insurance company after you get into an accident. This will generate a claim number and the auto insurance company will assign an adjuster to come and look at your vehicle and get an idea of what injuries and losses you suffered as a result of the crash. When you make that first call to the insurance company, you need to provide details such as when, where and how the accident occurred. If you have the other driver's insurance information (which you should), provide that to the insurance company as well.
Your doctor: One of the most important actions to take after a car accident is to get prompt medical attention, treatment and care for your injuries. Even if you don't believe your injuries are serious, schedule an appointment with your doctor to make sure you haven't suffered any damage internally. A number of car accident injuries may not surface for days after the accident. Your doctor might order X-rays or other diagnostic tests to determine what types of injuries you may have sustained.
If you have been injured in a car accident, please contact an experienced Orange County car accident lawyer to get more information about pursuing your legal rights.