What to Do After a Car Accident That is Not Your Fault – 3 Steps
Car accidents across the country occur for a variety of reasons. In some instances, the at-fault driver is not paying attention and operating his or her vehicle in a careless or reckless manner. At other times, the at-fault driver might be distracted by technology, such as a smartphone, GPS, or another electronic device in the vehicle. The at-fault driver might have been operating his or her vehicle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
Whatever the case, car accidents sometimes happen through no fault of your own. If you have been involved in a car accident that was not your fault, there are certain steps that you should always take. An experienced Orange County car accident attorney in your area can answer all of your legal questions and help you decide on a course of action for your case.
Get the Other Driver’s Personal and Insurance Information
If you are involved in a car accident, the first thing that you should do is obtain the other driver’s contact and insurance information. You should also call up your own insurance company and let them know that you have been involved in an accident so that they can expect a claim.
If you receive a telephone call or other communication from the at-fault driver’s insurance company, you should not answer their questions – or agree to a recorded statement – without having an experienced attorney present with you. This is because any statements which you make about your accident could be used against you by the at-fault driver’s insurer.
Speak to the Police and Witnesses on Scene
If a police officer is present on the scene, you should tell him or her what happened in the accident. You should also ask that a report be prepared. Police reports are very important because they often make an assessment as to fault. The report will also typically note whether or not the other driver was issued a citation, such as for reckless or impaired driving.
If a witness comes to the scene, you should speak with him or her about what the witness observed, including the movements of the other vehicle, the speed of the other vehicle, and the actions or inactions of the other vehicle just prior to the accident.
Get Medical Treatment
In addition to treatment at the scene, you should seek follow-up medical treatment at a hospital emergency room or urgent care center as soon as possible after your accident. You should do this if you feel anything out of the ordinary, even if you are unsure of whether you suffered injuries. This is because symptoms may take days, or even weeks, to manifest. Therefore, you will be better off getting checked out by a healthcare provider.
If you are injured, the emergency room or urgent care doctor can prescribe the necessary medication for you or recommend specific follow-up treatment. In the latter case, it is important that you follow through with any treatment that the emergency room doctor recommends. This might include following up with a primary care doctor or specialist.
Once you have sought this initial medical treatment, you should contact an experienced California car accident attorney to assist you with the legal aspects of your case.