If you or somebody you care about has been involved in a vehicle accident in Riverside, there are various steps that you need to take quickly in order to ensure your well-being and that you recover the compensation you are entitled to. As we go through these steps, we want you to know that the aftermath of an accident is often chaotic, and you may not be able to take every single one of these steps in this exact order. However, you need to try everything possible to accomplish all of these steps soon after an incident occurs.
1. Call 911 to Report the Incident
Immediately after an accident occurs, you need to take in your surroundings and ensure that you are in a safe location. Every crash is different, and there may be times when a vehicle can safely be moved to the side of the road, but that may not be possible. You need to find a cell phone and dial 911 to let the dispatchers know the crash has occurred so they can send police, fire, and EMS personnel. Do not assume that somebody else has already called the authorities. You need to do this yourself if you can.
2. Seek Medical Care Immediately
The number one priority after a vehicle accident occurs is seeking medical treatment for your injuries. We know that there may not be pain or obvious symptoms of injuries right after a crash occurs, often owing to the adrenaline coursing through the human body after an incident occurs. However, the signs and symptoms of some accident injuries may not show up until hours or days later, so it is crucial to seek medical care and get an evaluation from a doctor right after a crash occurs. A doctor can treat your visible injuries and check for unseen injuries.
3. Gather Evidence if You Can
You should only begin to gather evidence at the scene of the crash if it is safe to do so and if you have not sustained major injuries. If you do have the opportunity to gather evidence, you can use your cell phone to take photographs and videos of everything at the scene, including vehicle damage, injuries, debris and skid marks, weather and traffic conditions, possible causes of the crash, and more.
Additionally, if there were any eyewitnesses, you need to get their names and contact information written down before they leave the scene. This includes those who were not involved in the accident that stopped to offer assistance as well as other drivers and passengers.
4. Report the Incident to Your Insurance Carrier
Insurance carriers have strict reporting deadlines, often requiring that a claim be initiated within a day or two after the incident occurs. When you call the insurance carrier to report your crash, we do not want you to give them much information at first. All they need to know is that an accident occurred, that you are seeking medical treatment for your injuries, and the names and insurance information of other drivers involved.
5. Call a Car Accident Lawyer
We encourage you to reach out to a car accident lawyer in Riverside who can help you with every aspect of your claim. An attorney can take over the investigation and communication with other parties involved. Your focus needs to be on recovering, and an attorney can walk you through the process, starting with the initial claim all the way through to a trial, if one becomes necessary.
6. Continue Medical Treatment
You should never accept an insurance settlement until after you have finished all medical treatment related to your car accident injuries. Never discontinue care before your doctor says you have reached what they consider maximum medical recovery, or this could significantly impact your total settlement recovery amount.