No one wants to experience a car accident of any magnitude, but a car accident that’s serious enough to warrant an accident lawyer can cause a person a great deal of anxiety. Even if you have serious injuries and the other driver was clearly at fault, all too often the other side’s insurance company will do everything possible to undercut your claim, or avoid paying it altogether.
Don’t make the common mistake many people make after an accident by trying to negotiate with the opposing party’s insurance company directly. While you should always cooperate with your insurance company, you have no obligation to speak directly with the opposing party’s insurance representative. It’s best to let a qualified attorney do that for you!
An experienced personal injury attorney will already know what information you should or shouldn’t provide to the other party’s insurance, and he or she will already have a sense of the level of compensation you should receive. A good car accident lawyer will alleviate your stress and deal with the opposing party’s insurance company firmly and effectively.
Auto Accident Statistics
Although in general the rate of car accidents has been slowly declining over the past 10 years, the amount of money spent on medical care due to car accidents has been on the rise. While insurance companies would like you to believe this is due to frivolous lawsuits, the rise in costs is actually caused by increases in ambulatory care and medical costs.
- According to accident statistics released by the United States Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there were more than 37,000 deaths in 2008 due to motor vehicle collisions
- On average, every year there are more than 6 million car accidents on U.S. roads
- Every 12 minutes, someone dies because of a car accident
- Every 14 seconds, someone is injured because of a car accident
- Each year, more than 3 million people are injured due to auto accidents, with more than 2 million of these resulting in permanent injuries
- According to a non-profit insurance research group, in 2010, the average claim for injuries to cover both the insured driver and others involved in the crash rose to $23,450, due in large part to higher medical costs
What to do After a Car Accident
Any time you’re involved in an accident, whether minor or significant, there are some basic steps you can take to preserve your rights and ensure you can resolve the situation in the best way possible.
- Stay calm. Do not jump out of the car in anger. Regardless of the situation, keep your emotions in check.
- Look for injuries on yourself and anyone in your vehicle. If someone appears to be in pain but you are unsure how bad the injury is, call an ambulance to be on the safe side. Shock and adrenaline often mask pain, and even if there is no blood, there may be internal injuries that are more serious than they initially appear.
- If the accident is minor and no one is hurt, move cars to a safe place, out of traffic. But do not move anyone who has been injured. Create a barrier around any injured people and wait until the ambulance arrives.
- Turn on your vehicle’s hazard lights. If you have them, use cones, warning triangles or flares to keep other drivers from running into you.
- Call the police to obtain a police report, even if the accident is minor.
- Collect information. Get the names, numbers, addresses, drivers’ license numbers, license plate numbers, and basic insurance information from all drivers involved. If there are passengers, also obtain their names, numbers, and addresses. In talking to other drivers, try to be cordial and cooperative. If there are other witnesses, get their names and contact information, as well.
- Take pictures of the scene. Look for skid marks and note if it was a dangerous intersection, if there were roadway hazards or poorly visible street signs.
- Be careful what you say about the accident, as your words may be construed as an admission of guilt, even if you weren’t responsible at all. For example, common courtesy may prompt you to say “I’m so sorry,” even if you did nothing wrong, and the other person may later recall you admitting that the accident was your fault. Instead, simply express your concern by asking, “is everyone OK?” Remember that investigators must gather all the information before a determination of fault can be made.
- Call your insurance company to report the incident.
- If your injuries were not serious enough for an emergency room visit, make an appointment to see your doctor as soon as you get to your destination. Sometimes injuries – such as neck and back injuries – can manifest over time, especially if the force of impact was significant.
- Keep track of all your medical visits and expenses.
- Contact a personal injury attorney to ask questions and be sure you’re protecting your legal rights.
Sacramento Car Accident Lawyer with the Right Qualifications
When seeking a personal injury lawyer in Sacramento, it’s important to ask questions regarding his or her history litigating car accident cases. Personal injury lawyer Eric Ratinoff has been a dedicated advocate for the injured for over 20 years, and has extensive experience forcing tough insurance companies to pay valid claims. You want a lawyer with a track record of success not only settling lawsuits, but also taking them all the way to a jury trial with a successful verdict. The lawyers who represent the other side will know if your lawyer is inexperienced, and they will use it to their advantage. On the other hand, defense lawyers know reputable plaintiff’s lawyers by name, and often simply having the name of a reputable personal injury law firm on your legal paperwork can significantly advance your case.
Our Sacramento accident attorneys have extensive experience representing people suffering from personal injury, either in motorcycle accidents, boating accidents, and semi truck accidents. Upon accepting your case, we will conduct a thorough investigation, and deal directly and firmly with the insurance companies. We would be happy to answer any of your legal questions, free of charge or obligation. Contact us at (916) 473-1LAW or fill out the form on this page to speak with one of our accident lawyers today.