What steps should I take after a car accident?

Getting in a car accident is a harrowing experience for anyone. In addition to dealing with injuries, time off work, and repairs to your car, you may also experience anxiety, PTSD, and depression. 

Time, plenty of medical treatment, and a good therapist may help you to eventually recover from the injuries. However, you will also be stuck with a big bill. Fortunately, the state of California requires people to have auto insurance, and if you take the appropriate steps, you will have a good chance of getting the money you need to move on with your life.

What to do at the Scene

When you have an accident, you should first ask if anyone is injured. You should then call the police and wait for them to arrive.

Be sure to get the names of witnesses and take pictures if you can. You will want to request an accident report. Most attorneys would advise you to tell the police basic information about the accident but never admit to guilt at the scene. 

Seeking Medical Attention

You should go to the doctor after an accident, even if you feel just fine. There are some injuries that might not be immediately apparent.

Get your doctor and physical therapist to write you progress reports and save every medical bill that you get. You should save the receipts from any medications that you take, whether they are prescription or non-prescription

Document Your Non-Medical Expenses

Few doctors offer appointments late at night. If you need regular medical treatments, you are going to have to miss some work. You should get the HR department of your company to document how many hours you have missed from work and how much money you have lost as a result. 

If you have not been able to do housework or drive for yourself, you should save the receipts for the maid or ride-sharing services you require due to your injuries.

Contact Your Insurance Company

According to tjryanlaw.com, there are two different kinds of insurance rules in the United States; fault and no-fault. If you live in a no-fault state, your own insurance company will pay your bills no matter who is at fault. If you are in a fault state, like California, the person who caused the accident is responsible for its bills.

California is a pure comparative fault state. This means you are fully responsible for the portion of the accident you caused. 

In most states, you cannot receive compensation if you are more than 50% responsible for the accident. In the Golden State, you can recover funds even if you bear the brunt of the blame for an accident. For example, if you caused 90% of an accident, you should be able to recover 10% of your accident-related expenses from the other driver’s insurance company.

Hire a Lawyer

After you file a claim and provide the insurance company with all of your documentation, they will either deny your claim or make you a settlement offer. If they deny your claim or offer you less than you feel you should get, you will want to hire a personal injury attorney.

A professional lawyer will know what arguments to make to an insurance adjuster and will be able to negotiate a better settlement for you.

Getting injured is painful, costly, and time-consuming. Taking all the right steps after an accident can make the road to recovery a smooth one.

Emily Muelford
Emily is a British writer whose love of car culture is augmented by a fascination with both the European and American automotive markets. Her perspective is uniquely fish and chips.