Being in a car accident can be one of the most frightening days in our lives. The weeks and months after the collision can be just as bewildering, especially if we’ve been injured or harmed in some way because of the crash. It can be challenging to figure out what you need to be doing to ensure proper recovery, financial stability and meet all your legal obligations and wants.
Depending on where you live, the procedures and expectations are going to be slightly different. The following will explore what you need to do if you’ve been in an accident in San Diego or the surrounding area. Of course, no collision is the same. For more detailed information about your particular scenario, reach out to a legal professional.
First and foremost, you want to make sure that everyone who needs medical attention is getting it. This is always the number one priority after an accident. You mustn’t assume everything is fine just because you don’t feel pain immediately after the crash.
The human body responds to pain and damage in sometimes counterintuitive ways. You or someone else involved may be experiencing shock and, therefore, cannot feel the full extent of their injuries. Medical shock occurs when body cells do not get enough oxygen-rich blood, from blood loss, a shock to the heart, blockage, or other cause. Symptoms include drowsiness, dizziness, enlarged pupils, sweating, clammy skin, blue-gray fingertips or lips, fast pulse, and nausea or vomiting.
Avoid moving anyone who may have a back, neck, or head injury. Keep people warm with a blanket or coat until medical help arrives and perform any first aid needed.
The next step in dealing with an accident is to gather the appropriate evidence from the incident scene. If you have been taken away to the hospital, call a friend and ask them to go to the location. You want to take photographs or videos of the entire setup—both wide shots showing the whole scene and closeup showing each element up close. You’ll want to exchange information with the other party (and avoid speaking aggressively, emotionally, or harshly to them as this sort of behavior can be used against you if the crash ends up going to court).
In addition to the evidence that you gather, the police are likely gathering their own evidence. This is certainly being practiced by law enforcement professionals in San Diego when an accident occurs. After this is done, you’ll want to get a copy of a police report in San Diego to help you out. This might seem like a complicated step, but legally you are allowed access to it. The police report will contain law enforcement’s initial impression of the accident as well as witness statements and contact information.
Keep a record of all your expenses related to the accident as well by saving receipts and bills. Medical records, the cost of treatment, damages done to the car, the price of a taxi to get to work given that your car is in the shop—all of these things and more can help you keep a clear picture of the true causes and costs of an accident.
Before you file an insurance claim or make any personal injury law decisions, you’ll want to reach out to an attorney. Many lawyers offer free consultations to explain your situation and hear out their recommendations for steps to be taken. Sometimes certain actions make it so that you cannot pursue other compensation paths, meaning you’ll want to have all the information before you make any legally-binding choices.
Just like the things you say to the other party in the accident can be used against you, what you post, like, share, and comment on can also be used against you in a court of law. You likely have fears and frustrations to express, but the internet is not the place to do it. Unless specifically instructed by an attorney, stay off social media entirely until the accident has been dealt with thoroughly.
In America, car accidents are the number one cause of post-traumatic stress disorder. Many people have difficulty getting into cars or driving again immediately after an accident. You might be dealing with feelings of despair or anxiety. This is an entirely normal, logical response to what you’ve been through. Speak to a professional if any of your thoughts or feelings are interrupting your daily life.
The above steps should help you cover all your bases following an accident in San Diego. Given the lockdowns of 2020, many insurance companies and courts are far behind in their work resulting in longer than average wait times. Try to do these things sooner rather than later for the best results.