As premier car accident lawyers, we’ve assisted countless Bay Area injury victims secure the settlements they deserve. If you’ve suffered serious injuries in a crash caused by someone else, we may be able to help you, too. Contact us online to schedule a free consultation.
It’s no secret that stress can hamper your ability to think clearly. Unfortunately, it’s in those high-pressure, tense situations when it’s most important to keep your wits about you.
In the direct aftermath of a serious car accident, you may feel like your heart is beating out of your chest, or you may feel energized with adrenaline. Or, you may feel strangely calm and dissociated from the event. All of these responses are normal; they’re just different ways that your body tries to keep you safe.
Although your physical health should always be your first priority, it isn’t the only factor you need to consider after a collision. The reality is that there are steps you can take in the direct aftermath of an accident that may drastically impact your future, for better or worse. That’s why it’s important to make a plan now, and we’re going to help.
At Delfino, Green & Green
, we understand that making sense of things after a serious car accident is easier said than done—especially if you’ve suffered injuries. The good news is that you don’t have to navigate this traumatic situation alone. This article will outline the steps you can take to protect yourself, physically and financially after an accident.
Are you drowning in medical debt after an accident caused by someone else? You may be eligible to receive compensation through a personal injury lawsuit. Call our law office at (415) 442-4646 to explore your options.
Ensure Your Safety First
At the end of the day, nothing—not medical bills, a totaled car or anything else—is as precious as your physical wellbeing and the safety of your loved ones. So if you ever find yourself wondering what to do after a car accident, ensuring these should be your main priority.
You can start with a self-assessment. Do you seem badly injured? Do you notice bleeding anywhere? Can you move, stand or walk? If you have passengers, you can ask them the same questions. If you’re able, it’s important to get out of the street and to safety.
After you’ve had a chance to make sure you’re alright, you’ll want to scan for other people involved in the crash and, if possible, help them to safety. Then, regardless of whether you’re sure you need it, call 911 and request emergency medical assistance.
Call 911 for Emergency Assistance
During a traumatic event, your body uses several mechanisms to keep you alive and to insulate you from pain and stress. Your body will flood with adrenaline, allowing you to allocate resources and act quickly, as well as endorphins, which temporarily numb pain.
Research suggests that endorphin levels will remain elevated
in your brain as long as you’re in the midst of a traumatic event. As a result, you may be tempted to refuse medical treatment at the accident scene, but this is a huge mistake. What happens after you calm down and your endorphins subside?
It’s always a good idea to get immediate medical treatment after an accident because you may be unaware of serious injuries. Plus, calling 911 will also send police to the accident scene, and after investigating, they’ll write up an accident report
. This report will be one of the many pieces of evidence you’ll need if you decide to pursue a lawsuit.
Gather as Much Information and Evidence as Possible
In the wake of an accident, most people don’t think to gather evidence. They don’t consider the possibility of a future lawsuit because they assume car insurance will cover what it should. Unfortunately, that’s not always the case.
In the event that the insurance company refuses to pay you a fair settlement, you may end up needing to file a car accident lawsuit to recoup your losses. To win your lawsuit, you will need to present compelling evidence that supports your claim. And the best time to gather that evidence is when you’re still at the scene.
If your injuries make an on-scene investigation difficult, don’t risk your health by trying to gather evidence—nothing is worth jeopardizing your recovery. However, if you feel it’s safe to do so, try to collect the following information:
- The names, numbers and insurance information of other parties involved
- The make, model and license plate numbers of other vehicles
- Pictures of the vehicles involved, any visible injuries and your surroundings
- The location, time of day and other details about your surroundings
- The names and contact information of any witnesses to the event
If you’re unable to get this information, don’t stress: Your car accident lawyer
will conduct a thorough investigation of the accident. However, time is of the essence in these cases, which is why it’s important to contact a trusted attorney as soon as you can.
Get Help Negotiating with the Insurance Company
When you’re left wondering what to do after a car accident, you may try to turn to your insurance company for help. Just remember: Insurance companies are businesses, and at the end of the day, they care more about maintaining their bottom line than about paying you a fair settlement—even if you’re within your policy.
Your insurance adjuster may use a number of tactics to reduce your settlement, including the following:
- Making a low initial offer or lowballing you
- Disqualifying coverage based on a technicality
- Refusing to process your claim until you give a statement
- Avoiding your calls and emails
- Disputing liability
- Blaming your injuries on pre-existing conditions
- Delaying your offer to increase financial stress
- Requiring excessive documentation
- Misinterpreting your policy
Unless you’re an insurance expert, navigating these tactics alone is daunting.
Fortunately, an attorney with expertise in insurance law can speak with them on your behalf. This can be an effective strategy because insurers fear litigation; they would rather pay out a settlement than risk losing even more money in a lawsuit.
Understand What You Have to Gain—and Lose
Many injury victims never get the compensation they deserve because they fail to pursue legal action.
They may believe the process will take too long or be too expensive, or they mistakenly think they don’t have a case. Without a fair settlement, they may struggle financially for years, unable to afford all of the treatments they need, or, they may never financially recover.
If you’re wondering what to do after a car accident, don’t make the same mistake. You owe it to yourself to explore your legal options with a personal injury attorney
—especially if you’re dealing with significant accident-related losses.
The Types of Compensation in Car Accident Cases
When you pursue a car accident case with a talented lawyer, you stand to gain more compensation than you probably realize.
In addition to compensation for economic losses (such as medical expenses, property damage, lost wages, etc.), your settlement may also include non-economic damages
. As the name implies, these are intangible losses that can’t be calculated with a dollar amount. They can include things like pain and suffering, disfigurement, emotional anguish, loss of enjoyment of life and more.
Unsure how to calculate a potential settlement or what qualifies as a loss? Don’t stress—you won’t have to do it alone when you partner with an experienced attorney.
Find the Right Lawyer for Your Auto Accident Case
In the aftermath of a serious wreck, there’s a lot to address. If you’re wondering what to do after a car accident, the most important thing to remember is that you have options. However, the breadth of those options will depend on the quality of your attorney.
Almost all personal injury lawyers take auto accident cases, but that doesn’t mean that all lawyers are equally skilled at winning them. The best auto accident lawyer for you is one who has extensive experience, not only trying cases like yours, but also winning them. Their firm should be a trusted name in your community, with a track record that speaks for itself.
Ultimately, the best auto accident attorney for you is someone who listens as well as they litigate. And that’s exactly what the compassionate legal experts at Delfino, Green & Green
bring to the San Francisco Bay Area community.
When you’re ready to schedule a free consultation
with us, it’s as easy as contacting us online. Prefer to speak over the phone? Our legal team is standing by to take your call. Get in touch with us at (415) 442-4646.