No one ever thinks that it will happen to him. One minute you are coasting down Pacific Coast Highway, and the next moment you find yourself the victim of a serious Orange County car accident.
In these scary situations, panic and fear almost always cause a person to forget vital steps that must be taken—especially if there is an injury involved. We see it time and time again, which is why the Huntington Beach car accident lawyers in our office urge readers to remember to stay calm and follow these tips if you ever find yourself in a similar situation.
- Seek treatment immediately. This may seem like common sense, but if you are the parent of a child who was injured, it can be easy to overlook your own well-being and focus on the child’s. However, it is absolutely imperative that you be checked out by doctor as soon as possible, especially since many serious closed-head injuries have symptoms that can be difficult or nearly impossible to detect.
- Document the accident. Obtaining the accident report, taking photographs of the scene, and gathering witness statements all are necessary for proving your claim later on, and will help determine liability if it is currently unclear.
- Do not give a recorded statement to the at-fault party’s insurance company. Regardless of how kind or friendly the insurance adjustor may seem, remember that it is his or her job to settle your claim for as little money as possible. The adjustor will try to get you to answer a series of questions while recording your answers, and those may be used against you later.
- Do not sign anything. In addition to the recorded statement, the insurance company most likely will send you a medical authorization to sign and send back, claiming that they will need to obtain your medical records and bills so that they can settle your claim. While those documents are needed, what they fail to tell you is that they most likely will order all of your medical records, including ones that are private in nature and not related to the accident at all, in order to build a case against you.
- Do not settle your claim without first speaking with an attorney experienced in Southern California auto accidents. It can be tempting to accept the first offer the insurance company gives you, especially if the accident has left you unable to work, but you must also remember that the settlement will be full and final. This means any future medical problems you have from this accident will not be covered.
The best way to avoid forgetting one of these important steps is to contact a lawyer immediately after an accident. The attorneys at Russell & Lazarus will sit down with you to discuss your options during a complimentary case evaluation tailored to your specific needs. Simply call our office today at 949.851.0222 or fill out our online form today, and you will also receive a free copy of our book, The Nuts And Bolts Of Litigating A Personal Injury Claim.