10 Things To Do If You Are In A Car Accident

An automobile accident, no matter how minor it may seem, is very a serious matter. Many people brush off accidents without seeking proper health care or following the correct insurance procedures. Injuries can take hours or even a few days to fully effect you after an accident. You could feel fine immediately following a crash, but have serious underlying injuries that could leave you hospitalized or even dead a few days later.

Acting quickly after an accident is essential to your physical health and to ensure that you can maximize any potential personal injury settlements to which you may be entitled.

If you are in a car accident, you should follow these 10 steps:

1) Pull your vehicle over to a safe area if possible. If you are on an interstate or highway, remain in your vehicle until emergency assistance arrives. Leave your seat belt on.

2) Call the police immediately to report the accident. Do not leave the scene of the accident until the police take a collision report, regardless of whether the parties involved have suffered a major injury. Many people fail to get an accident report, especially if the other party admits fault. Do not leave the accident scene without obtaining a traffic collision report. Even if the other party admits fault to you, they may provide a completely different story to their insurance company. A police report will help ensure that incriminating statements are written on paper by a police officer at time.

3) Ask any witnesses to wait and provide a statement to police. For a witness statement to be admissible, it must be given to the officers taking the police report at the time of the accident. They cannot simply leave their contact information for the insurance company to follow up with.

4) Take photographs of the accident scene, vehicles involved, and any visible injuries you may have suffered when and where possible. If you cannot take pictures at the scene due to the severity or location of the accident, have someone else take pictures of your vehicle and injuries as soon as possible after the accident.

5) Seek immediate medical attention. If you are hurt in any manner, it is very critical that you receive immediate treatment for your injuries. Even if you walk away from the accident, you should follow up with a doctor, especially if your automobile is severely damaged. If for any reason you are unable to make arrangements with a medical doctor, a personal injury attorney can refer you to a doctor that will work on a lien. Lately, insurance companies have perceived a lack of treatment in the first week of an auto accident as a sign that you are not hurt as a result of the auto accident, even in the most serious of accidents.

6) Do not make any statements admitting liability for the accident to any parties involved for any reason. This includes passengers in your automobile who may seek legal action.

7) If the circumstances allow it, obtain the contact and insurance information for the other drivers involved. You should obtain the name, address, telephone number, insurance company, the policy number, license plate number, VIN number (located on the front windshield), driver's license number of all other involved parties (drivers and passengers). Read the policy card carefully and make sure it is a valid policy and one that has not expired. If your injuries are too severe or you are unable to get out of your car, the police officer at the scene will collect the information and make it available for both parties on the police report. Do not risk your safety to get this information!

8) Do NOT meet with a representative from an insurance company for any reason. Insurance companies have been known to approach parties in a claim at their home, their work, or even the hospital to offer cash settlements. Do not accept any offers or sign anything from an insurance claims adjuster without consulting an attorney.

9) Contact an attorney immediately! It is very important that you make no statements about the nature of your auto accident to any insurance company before first consulting an attorney. Do not take the insurance company's perceived friendliness as an invitation to easily resolve your claim. Many of these companies take advantage of unrepresented parties to obtain incriminating statements to blame you for the accident or to devalue your claim. Remember, it is the insurance company's job to limit your settlement.

10) Once you have retained an attorney's services, do not discuss your claim with the insurance company for any reason. Redirect any calls from the insurance company to your attorney's office.

Samer Habbas is a leading Orange County Auto Accident Attorney in the California . Our firm exclusively handles personal injury cases. We have the experience to help you recover your lost wages, medical expenses and other costs from an automobile accident. If you or a loved one has been in an auto accident, visit our  Orange County Injury Attorney for more information.