What to do if you’re injured in an accident in Palm Desert, California
There were about 6.7 million auto accidents reported by police in the United States in 2018, leading to about 2.7 million injuries, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Car insurance industry estimates suggest the average driver will be involved in three to four accidents in their lifetime.
Auto accidents are an unfortunate reality of life, so it’s always a good idea to be prepared and have a game plan in place in case you’re injured in an accident in Palm Desert. The below game plan can help ensure your own physical safety as well as preserve your legal rights and ensure you can be compensated for your injuries.
- Ensure everybody’s safety and request medical assistance. Check everyone involved in the crash for injuries if you are physically able, then call 911 for medical assistance if any injuries are present. Make sure everyone is in a safe location.
Call 911 even if the vehicles involved are not badly damaged. Don’t be talked out of calling 911 by other drivers and don’t agree to any deals with other drivers, even if they plead for you to leave insurance out of the situation and to not call the police.
Tell 911 your location, if anyone is injured, if there’s any dangers at the accident scene like leaked fuel, and if it appears alcohol or drugs played a factor in the accident.
- Gather information while saying as little as possible. You can start gathering information once you’ve ensured everyone is safe, but you’re going to want to be especially cautious while doing so. You’re going to want to speak as little as possible during this phase to avoid accidentally implying your own fault in the accident. What you say during this stage can negatively impact your ability to obtain compensation for your injuries.
Some states, including California, allow those partially at fault for accidents to obtain compensation for their injuries from the other driver’s insurance company.
Get the contact information and insurance information of any drivers involved. Get the contact information of any witnesses to the accident. Don’t rely on police reports and expect police reports to have all the witnesses’ contact information on them. Take plenty of photos of the accident scene from multiple angles, including photos of any and all injuries and vehicle damage.
- Immediately seek medical treatment. It is critical that you seek medical treatment as soon as possible after an injury to make sure that you can be compensated for any injuries, even if you don’t think you’ve been injured.
Adrenaline and endorphins can mask injuries after an accident, and sometimes injuries don’t show themselves until days or weeks after an accident. Unfortunately, if you wait too long to seek medical treatment after an accident, the at-fault driver’s insurance company can make the argument that your injuries could have been caused by something other than the auto accident. This argument becomes more convincing the longer you wait to seek treatment after an injury, so seek medical treatment immediately after any accident to promptly document any injuries you may not know you have.
Describe your injuries in as much detail as possible when receiving treatment. It is important for your injuries to be documented in as much detail as possible by your doctors if you would like to be fully compensated for your injuries.
- Don’t talk to the insurance companies. Do not talk to insurance companies after you’ve been injured in an accident, even your own. The number one priority of insurance adjusters is minimizing your payout to maximize the profits of the insurance company.
Insurance adjusters are trained to manipulate people into accidentally implying their own fault for an accident. You should let an attorney speak to the insurance companies for you in order to avoid accidentally incriminating yourself to an insurance company.
- Obtain an experienced lawyer in Palm Desert. A lawyer can deal with the insurance companies so you don’t have to. Dealing with the insurance companies isn’t just dangerous since you can accidentally incriminate yourself to them, it’s stressful, time-consuming and inconvenient. Experienced personal injury lawyers can handle everything for you, including talking with insurance companies, while you focus on what’s important: recovering from your injuries.
It’s important that you obtain local counsel because character judgments are best made in person. You can meet a local lawyer in person and judge their character for yourself before hiring them.
It’s important that you obtain a lawyer if you’ve been injured in an accident because insurance companies won’t offer you fair payouts if you don’t have a lawyer, and why would they? They have no reason to pay you fairly if you don’t have a lawyer. They can offer you a pittance and laugh at you when you sue them, since they know you can’t beat their expensive lawyers in court if you don’t have a lawyer of your own.
Experienced personal injury lawyers can also get you to the best doctors who can help you recover from your injuries – doctors who won’t charge you for their services until your case is over. This way you can get the best treatment available, no matter your income level.
- Dutifully attend any follow-up appointments regarding injury recovery. It is absolutely vital that you dutifully attend any follow-up appointments regarding your injury recovery if you want to be compensated fully for your injuries. Failure to attend any follow-up appointments with physical therapists, chiropractors, etc., will be pointed at by insurance companies as evidence you’re not really injured.
Hopefully, you’ll never be in an auto accident. However, if you’re injured in an accident, following the above steps can make sure you preserve your legal rights and are compensated fully for your injuries.