When you last drove away from home, you probably did not grab your “car accident to do list.” Most people never anticipate that they may be involved in a car accident as they drive throughout San Diego. While the expression “ignorance is bliss” is a cliché, it is also patently false in this context.
Chances are that at some point in your lifetime you will be involved in a motor vehicle accident. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, three in ten people will be involved in a serious automobile accident at some point during their lifetime. The lives of approximately six million people per year are affected by a motor vehicle collision according to the San Diego County Bar Association.
Given these car accident statistics, it is important to be prepared if you are involved in a San Diego collision so you should take the following steps:
Get prompt medical care: Many injured in motor vehicle collisions presume that because they have only minor symptoms there is no reason to see a doctor. In reality, severe injuries may not be immediately obvious. A delay in obtaining diagnostic scans can both compromise your treatment and your legal claim.
Do not admit fault or remorse: It is quite common to feel embarrassed or guilty when you are involved in a car accident. However, it is important not to say “I’m sorry” or make similar statements that an insurance company may later construe as admission of fault or consciousness of guilt.
Gather evidence: Use your camera phone to take pictures of any injuries, vehicle damage, vehicle position and the surrounding area. While you must exchange driver license and insurance information with the other driver, you should also get the names and contact information for anyone involved in the accident and any witnesses.
Seek legal advice and representation: While you are not required to retain an attorney if you are injured in a collision, keep in mind that the insurance industry did not become a billion dollar sector of the economy by paying the full value of all valid claims. Insurance companies have a team of lawyers, investigators, experts and adjusters whose primary objective is to deny claims or reduce payout. An experienced San Diego auto accident lawyer understands the tactics used by insurance companies and will have the resources to balance the scales of litigation.