According to the National Highway Safety Administration, a car accident happens every 10 seconds in the United States. Unfortunately, many of these collisions are caused by driver negligence, reckless driving, driving while under the influence of alcohol or other drugs, and other types of impaired driving. Tragically, it’s not always the person at fault who suffers the most severe injuries.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a vehicular accident in San Diego, follow these steps to recover the compensation you deserve:
- Evaluate the Extent of Your Injuries.
If the accident is severe, you may be transported to the nearest hospital immediately for treatment. In this case, there’s no question that you’ll have medical documentation to include with your personal injury claim. However, many people think they feel fine right after a minor accident only to begin experiencing problems within a few days. In whiplash cases especially, neck stiffness often takes two to three days to present itself.
After an accident, keep careful notes of any changes in your condition. This can include headaches, sore muscles, stiff joints, problems sleeping or anything else. As soon as you notice a change for the worse, see a doctor. This is important for two reasons:
- First, early treatment can prevent more severe problems.
- Secondly, this visit will document your condition and serve as evidence in your personal injury claim.
Keep copies of both your medical bills and prescription medication receipts, and make note of any days lost from work.
- Report the Accident to the San Diego Police Department
In the case of a severe accident, a police report will usually be a given. However, many drivers make the mistake of not notifying the police if the accident is minor and there appears to be no damage or injuries. Unfortunately, this often means they have nowhere to turn in several days when they suddenly notice they feel stiff and sore or they discover hidden damage to their car. No matter how minor the accident may seem, always call the police. Even if an officer is not dispatched to the scene, this call will document the collision.
- Record the Facts of the Accident
If you’re physically able, collect all the necessary details from any other drivers and witnesses. This should include names, addresses and phone numbers in addition to the other drivers’ insurance information. Record the make, model and license plate number of every vehicle involved in the accident. When possible, write down the vehicle identification number as well. In cases where your injuries are too severe to allow you to perform this step, contact the police as soon as possible to get the accident report. While the collision is fresh in your memory, write down the details so that you don’t forget any important facts.
- Never Admit Fault or Say You’re Sorry at the Scene of the Accident
Either action can be used by the other driver’s insurance company to deny your personal injury claim. If you’re able, always check to see if anyone else involved in the accident requires medical care, but refrain from making any personal statements even if you feel like the accident was your fault at the time.
- Contact an Experienced San Diego Personal Injury Attorney
Although the insurance company may tell you otherwise, using the services of an experienced personal injury attorney increases your chances of obtaining fair and just compensation for your injuries, especially if your case is complicated. This type of professional has the knowledge and the experience required to investigate facets of your case that you may never have thought of on your own like faulty equipment, malfunctioning traffic signals or improper lane markings.
If you’re considering a personal injury claim in San Diego, don’t try to go up against the insurance company’s dedicated legal team on your own. Call us for help! Your consultation is completely free, and we never charge a dime unless we win your case and recover damages on your behalf.