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Accident Checklist: Steps to Take After a Car Accident in San Jose

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In the aftermath of a car accident or any other type of motor vehicle collision, do you know where you will turn for help? How can you be sure that you've taken the necessary steps to ensure that your insurance claim is not denied? These are only a few of the many questions that run through the minds of individuals who are unfortunate enough to be injured in a car crash. At the Law Offices of Caroline J. Nasseri, we want to help you find answers to these questions. With the help of a San Jose personal injury attorney from our firm, you can take action to secure the compensation that you deserve after being wrongfully injured in a car accident of any type.

Important steps must be taken after an accident if you are to be successful in the claim that you file. Both at the scene of the accident, and in the immediate days following the collision, a very specific set of criteria will need to be met. In fact, failure to meet these expectations could jeopardize your ability to seek compensation.

The following checklist is designed to help the victims of car accidents recover from the immediate aftermath of the collision and then confidently move forward with the claims filing process in the days and weeks to follow.

Stay at the scene!
In the state of California, it is mandatory for all parties involved in an accident to remain at the scene of the collision until it is appropriate to leave. Failure to remain at the scene could target you as a hit-and-run driver, for which the consequences will be very severe. Whether or not you are at fault for the accident in which you were involved, you must remain at the scene to ensure that all injured or otherwise harmed individuals are cared to.

Call your local law enforcement agency.
Local law enforcement officers should always be alerted after an accident. This is especially true if the collision resulted in significant property damage and / or injury and death. If the law enforcement officer who attends to your accident does not make a report, it would be wise to request that he or she do so. Before the officer leaves, you should ask for the name and badge number of all offers who responded to the scene of the accident.

Exchange information with other driver(s).
Before leaving the accident, you should obtain the name, telephone number, home address, driver's license number, license plate number, and basic insurance information of all other drivers involved in the collision. It's not a bad idea to obtain the same information from any passengers who were involved in the accident as well.

Talk to nearby individuals who witnessed the accident.
Anyone who witnessed the accident should be spoken to before leaving the scene. Ask for the name, telephone number, and / or home address of any witness who is a local resident of the area. You might need to call upon these individuals later on to act as a witness in your case.

Take photographs.
Photo documentation of the physical damage that was done to your vehicle and / or the personal harm that was caused to you serve as strong pieces of evidential proof in an accident. Pictures can help your insurance adjuster more accurately determine how much your claim is worth. Photographs also allow for an accurate means to compare the before and after of your vehicle, thus providing a means for showing the extent of the damage that was sustained from the accident.

Notify your insurance company.
As soon after the accident as possible, make sure to inform your insurance company of the accident in which you were involved. Nothing about the collision should be withheld from your insurance company at this time; even information that you might not think is relevant to your case should be disclosed to your insurance provider, who can then determine what information is and isn't necessary. Failure to inform your insurance company of any detail that you remember about the accident could land you in serious trouble; in fact, a lie or exclusion could lead to the denial of coverage for your accident.

Make a record of your medical treatment.
The names of any health care professional that attends to you after your accident should be kept for your own personal record; this includes doctors, surgeons, physical therapists, chiropractors, and the like. A detailed account of the type of treatment provided, along with the medications prescribed to you, should also be kept for your records. You can ask for copies of your medical reports and bills, which can then be used to help you prove your medical expenses later on.

Obtain a valuation of your damages.
A property damage valuation for your car can be obtained from your insurance company. In some cases, it could be beneficial to have a second estimate prepared as well. With two estimates for the repair of your vehicle, you can better ensure that your insurance provider offers you an appropriate amount of coverage for the damage that was done to your vehicle during the accident.

Be careful in who you talk to about the accident!
After a car accident, it is wise to limit the number of people with whom you speak to about the details of the collision. Ideally, no one other than your attorney, your insurance company, and law enforcement should be spoken to in the immediate aftermath of the accident. It is most important to refrain from communicating with the representative of another insurance company. If an adjuster from a different insurance agency reaches out to you, simply direct him or her to your attorney or insurance company; you don't need to talk to them yourself.

Don't accept an early settlement offer without conferring with your lawyer.
Insurance adjusters are keen to offer car accident victims an early settlement, because it is often a way for them to avoid paying the full amount that is actually due to the victim. Before accepting an early settlement offer, it would be wise to discuss the matter with your lawyer who can help you determine whether or not the full value of your physical injuries and property damages is reflected in the suggested amount. Given the fact that some injuries don't show up until weeks or months after an accident, it can be risky to accept an early settlement offer that does not account for potential future injuries. Before agreeing and signing any settlement documents, first speak to your attorney.

At The Law Offices of Caroline J. Nasseri, we are committed to helping the victims of accidents recover the full amount of compensation that they deserve. Following the checklist provided above is a good way to start if you've been involved in an accident, and it can be made even better with the help of a lawyer from our firm on your side. Under the representation of our office, you can receive the immediate medical treatment that you need without any out-of-pocket expenses. We are here to help you financially recover from your accident, and until you have received the compensation that is due to you, we can take care of any costs that are related to your accident.

Contact a San Jose car accident lawyer at our office to learn more.