What you do after a car accident can have a major impact on any future injury or accident claims you might file. In addition to limiting the amount of compensation you are entitled to collect, doing the wrong thing after a collision can result with you becoming ineligible for other types of legal remedies.
If you are ever involved in a serious car accident, you should immediately take the steps that we discuss below to maximize your damage award.
#1: Check Yourself & Others for Injuries
After a car accident occurs, you should asses yourself and any passengers inside your vehicle for serious injuries that need immediate medical assistance. Be sure no one is seriously hurt before getting out of your car. If you have passengers who have suffered injuries, remain in the vehicle, if the accident scene isn’t in the way of traffic. Don’t leave your vehicle until you have accounted for all passengers. Once you know that everyone in your car is safe, go check on other parties involved in the collision, such as other drivers or pedestrians.
#2: Manage Nearby Traffic
Car accidents are very stressful, especially when the scene of the accident becomes chaotic because of nearby traffic. To keep traffic from moving through the area near the collision, flash your hazard lights and use traffic cones or road flares to create a border around you and your vehicle. It’s crucial to let other drivers know that they need to exercise caution after you have been in a car wreck.
#3: Exchange Information
Important information to get from others involved in the collision includes:
- Phone numbers
- Home addresses
- Name of insurers
- Policy number
- Driver’s license information
You will need all of this information in order to file your accident or injury claim with your insurance company.
#4: Take Pictures of the Damage
Because you can quickly be found liable for an accident, it is crucial to have photographic evidence of the damage you sustained to your body and vehicle. Taking quality pictures of the accident scene as soon as you can is one of the most important things to do after a car accident. The more pictures you have of your damages, the stronger your claim will be. Make sure the photos you take aren’t blurry, the goal is to clearly show how much damage you sustained in the accident. Having pictures can help you subjectively explain the events that caused the accident.
#5: Don’t Apologize to Anyone
Any kind of apology you give to others involved in the accident can be used to establish that you admitted fault. This means you can be held liable for financial damages associated with the accident. While most of us have been raised to believe that it is rude not to apologize to others after an inconvenience, doing so after an accident can have huge repercussions on the amount of compensation you are entitled to collect.
Avoid apologizing after a car accident at all costs, particularly reactionary statements like:
- “I didn’t see you.”
- “I wasn’t paying attention.”
- “I’m sorry about that.”
The statements above and those that are similar can damage your accident or injury claim.
Talk to a Personal Injury Attorney in San Jose
If you or a loved one were involved in a serious car accident, you should immediately contact our team of personal injury attorneys to get started building your case. We are dedicated to helping clients in San Jose and surrounding areas secure the maximum amount of compensation they are entitled to.