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What To Do After A Car Accident

Even a relatively minor car accident or pedestrian accident can turn into a major headache. They usually involve dealing with insurance companies, missing work, dealing with lawyers and police officers, etc. So here are some things to keep in mind if you have been in an accident:

If someone is injured, call 911. Once you have assured yourself that nobody needs urgent medical care, move on to looking at the cars and property damage.

  • Do not apologize if you did not cause the accident - some people feel compelled to apologize for an accident, even if they did not cause it. I am not sure why this is, it just is.
  • Witnesses - if you are able, get information for any witnesses - names, addresses, phone numbers, email addresses, etc. Do not assume that the police officer taking down information will get all of the names and addresses.
  • Take Pictures - documenting your claim will help with insurance and any potential personal injury claim. Many people keep a disposable camera in their glove compartments, although that is probably not necessary if you have a phone with a camera (although these are often lost and/or destroyed in accidents).
  • Keep a Log - just like photos, keeping a log will help with your personal injury claim. Keep notes about everything - where you were going at the time, what stops you made along the way, how you feel from day to day, a list of appointments you have had, etc. There is no way you are going to remember all of this without writing it down.
  • Careful Who You Talk To - if the other party's insurance company contacts you, your best response is to get in touch with your insurance company or attorney. Why? Because they are better equipped to handle the situation.
  • Retain a Personal Injury Attorney -A lot of people think they can handle their claim on their own, and perhaps they are right. But it usually means taking on a second job - that of attorney. It can be exhausting and can have you running in circles when you should just be living your life. You can spend a huge chunk of time trying to determine just the value of your case. Hire an attorney and get the results you want.
  • Be thankful you are alive - A lot of people do not survive car accidents - be happy you did.

Pete Clancy is a personal injury lawyer in Oakland. Pete was named a 2010 Rising Star for the Northern California by SuperLawyer Magazine. He can be reached by email ([email protected]) or phone (925-835-7500).


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