Whether you saw it coming at the very last minute or were completely blindsided, being involved in a major car accident is a shocking and traumatic experience. Due to natural human response, most people’s reaction are emotionally fueled. A shot of fear, a little anger, the lack of safety, and the unknown of how it happened can enrage some, while others may find immediate gratitude that they are alive. The truth, unless your ex-boyfriend purposely ran you off the road because he saw you on Tinder (it’s contradicting, I know), is that it was an accident. Who is to blame? What exactly happened? What is the damage? Who do I call?
Bakersfield has had its increase in car accidents. Rosedale Highway & Nord Avenue is one of the intersections that’s been getting heated attention. Pedestrians near California and Stockdale have been getting hit. Highway 58, Highway 99, Highway 178, and the Westside Parkway all have their own issues with more problems. One must also have to account for the increasing numbers of DUI-related accidents in Kern County as well. You consider yourself a safe driver, everyone does, but how much can one do to assure other drivers are safe? You can’t. But you can prepare and execute, should you find yourself involved, so that you can maximize your settlement.
1) Fact-Based Documentation
a) Witnesses – Get their contact information immediately. You will be surprised at the number of at-fault people who try to twist the facts and turn against you.
b) Pictures – This isn’t a time for selfies unless your face is bloodied. Take pictures of all the cars involved, license plates, and all the damage created by the accident. This includes roadways, curbs, signs, streetlights, or squirrels.
c) Notes – Once you have completed the above tasks, take the fast food napkins you’ve had stored in your glove compartment for 8 years and jot down your best recollection of events. Your speed, the weather, and the immediate visualization of what you remember right before and what caused the accident.
2) Request a Police Report
a) Usually when serious injury takes place, like if someone goes to the hospital, the local police will write a report. Regardless, request that a police report be written and if they will not, go to the police station and write a report at the counter.
a) Get yourself and your car to the most trusted mechanic you know. If there is frame damage, more pictures. Keep the damaged parts. Do not allow mechanics to recycle used/damaged parts. You want to be collecting evidence.
a) Decline any requests for your statement to be recorded by insurance.
b) Do not speak to insurance adjusters without an attorney present. Insurance adjusters are not here to get you the most money.
5) Attend All Doctor’s Appointments
a) Take all medications as prescribed.
b) Don’t try to be the tough guy. Insurance companies like to accuse those who try to self-will themselves through the pain of fraud.
6) Know Your Insurance Coverage
a) If you do not understand them, consult with a personal injury lawyer.
b) Insurance law is esoteric. Exactly. What’s that word mean? Lawyer up.
c) Have insurance send payments directly to you or your attorney. Don’t let the ambulance or emergency personnel take all of your coverage.
7) Types of Doctors
a) If you’ve got a broken leg, don’t go see a neurologist. Each injury you’ve sustained needs to be tended to by the doctors that specialize in those areas. This is the pinnacle of getting the maximum value in your case.
b) Get immediate treatment. Reduce the amount of pain and suffering by seeking the right kind of treatment.
8) Choose an Attorney with Experience in Personal Injury
a) Kyle W. Jones
In closing, and so you are aware, there is a statute of limitations to file a lawsuit. Medical malpractice differs from other types of cases like a government employee t-boning you into the Kern River with a city-owned vehicle. Not all car accidents necessitate an attorney but the minute an insurance company begins to bully, deny, or make light of the injuries you’ve sustained, or if you’re not really sure what the next indicated step is, call my office at (661) 833-1090 for a free consultation with an experienced personal injury and auto accident attorney in Bakersfield.