Car accidents are deeply upsetting occurrences. One minute, you’re riding down the road, listening to the radio… the next, you’re in pain and your vehicle is severely damaged. It’s not surprising that your first thought isn’t, “What should I do to make sure I have all the information my car accident lawyer will need?” That’s why we’re providing these four tips to read and remember now (and perhaps print out and tuck into your glove compartment) while you’re clear-headed and not in the midst of a traumatic event.
- Call 911 and ask them to dispatch emergency medical assistance along with the police. In the immediate aftermath of a collision, you or a passenger might think you’re uninjured when in fact shock and adrenaline are masking the symptoms of potentially serious accident-related injuries. Everyone riding in your car should be examined at the scene and follow the advice of the emergency medical technicians as to whether you should go to the hospital immediately. Down the line, your car accident attorney will need the EMT and emergency room reports to clarify the extent of your injuries and confirm they stem directly from the auto accident.
- Ideally, do not move the vehicles involved in the crash before the police arrive. This is important especially if you or someone else is injured, so that the police can gather evidence like the direction in which each driver was traveling, signs of skid marks on the road, and more. However, if there is no choice but to move your vehicles due to safety concerns (and you’re physically able) first shoot video and take photos of the original scene with your cellphone, and then move your vehicle as short a distance as possible from the crash site. Definitely do not leave the scene of an automobile accident with injuries. The more photographic and video evidence of who caused the car crash, the stronger your case against the other driver.
- Gather information and documentation from everyone involved in the automobile accident. Obviously, do this only if you are able to safely get out of your car and move around without hurting yourself or others. Information you want to collect includes the other driver’s license plate number, name, address, and phone number, driver’s license, vehicle registration, vehicle identification number (VIN) and proof of insurance. You can jot down this information if you have paper and pen on hand, type it into the Notes app on your cellphone, or use your phone’s camera to capture everything. Your lawyer will need all of this information, and the sooner you can provide it (rather than waiting for police reports), the sooner your attorney can get started on your case.
- Gather information from witnesses, including passengers in all vehicles involved. Third-party witness testimony makes for a stronger automobile accident case, but too often, witnesses leave before the police arrive and without providing their contact information. Passengers in the car of the person who hit you could also provide important facts about what that driver was doing immediately before the accident. Again, if you are physically capable, get the names, addresses, and phone numbers of any potential witnesses so your lawyer can follow up with them as your personal injury case progresses.
Get help from a qualified Los Angeles car accident attorney
Every auto accident should be taken seriously. Even if you think you’re fine immediately following a crash, injuries can take a day or more to show up, and often turn out to be serious. Make sure you seek medical treatment as soon as possible, and then contact an experienced lawyer to help you through recovery. Attorney Scott J. Corwin is ready to answer your questions, so call him today at (310) 683-2300 or contact his law office to schedule a free initial consultation.