Since Santa Ana is in such a highly populated county, the risk of being involved in a car accident is high. Data from the United States Census Bureau says that the population of Orange County is over 3.1 million. There are only five counties in the U.S. with a higher population. As the population has increased, so has the frequency of car accidents. The California Office of Traffic Safety says that in 2017, Orange County saw over 21,000 auto accidents that lead to injury.
It’s possible that you are eligible for financial compensation if you’ve been injured in an auto accident. Reach out to the Crockett Law Group so that you can work with a Santa Ana car accident attorney that can help you secure the money you are owed. To schedule a free consultation, just call our personal injury lawyers in Santa Ana at (800) 900-9393.
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What Should You Do After an Auto Accident?
Ideally, you’ll never be involved in an auto accident. Unfortunately, the odds aren’t in your favor. That’s why you should make sure you’re ready for an accident. Read over this checklist, print out a copy, and keep it somewhere in your car. If you’re involved in an accident, you can use it as a reference to ensure that you don’t forget anything important.
Don’t leave the scene of the crash. You should remain at the scene until you’ve spoken with the other party and exchanged contact information with them. If you leave the scene before doing this, you will be in violation of California Vehicle Code Section 20002. This offense qualifies as a misdemeanor. If you leave the scene when the other party is injured, you could be charged with a hit and run felony under California Vehicle Code Section 20001.
Check for Injuries
Find out if anyone is injured. If you suspect that you’ve sustained an injury, or that a passenger in your vehicle has been injured, you should avoid moving. Instead, stay in your vehicle and contact emergency services. When you dial 911, you should inform them of the injury and your location and stay safely in place until medical personnel arrives.
Get to a Safe Place
If your car can still be driven, you should pull over to the side of the road. This can keep you from being struck by other vehicles. If you are unable to do this, you should turn on your emergency lights so that other drivers can be alerted.
Contact the Police
Even if an accident doesn’t seem serious, you should reach out to the police. The police can assist you when you’re exchanging information when other drivers. Having an accident report will also help you when you’re dealing with insurance companies. With that said, in some areas, police won’t visit the scene of an accident unless someone is injured.
Do Not Accept Fault
Watch what you say to the other party. It’s normal to feel frightened or overwhelmed if you’ve been in an accident. You may be struggling to process what happened to you. That’s why you should be careful about what you say to any other parties that have been involved in an accident. Your instinct may be to apologize to the other driver. However, if you make a statement like this, it can be treated as an admission of fault.
Obtain Contact Information
Exchange contact information from all parties involved in the accident. You should collect as much information as possible from drivers and witnesses. You should also get the license plate numbers of the other vehicles involved. You should ask drivers to provide you with their name, address, telephone number, driver’s license number, and birth date. You should also request their policy number and the name of their insurance provider. You should make note of the make, model, and year of the vehicle or vehicles involved. You should also collect license plate numbers and VIN numbers.
Document the accident. Try to take plenty of photos before you leave the accident scene.
Get pictures of all vehicles that were involved in the accident. These photos can be used as evidence later on when you make a claim. For example, it could serve as evidence of property damage or the mechanism for injury. If there is minimal rear-end damage to your vehicle, but the other car has intrusion damage that extends into the engine compartment, it will be impossible for the insurance company to claim that you could not have been injured because of the crash.
You should also make sure photos show the placement of each vehicle. This can make it easier for analysts to determine what might have caused the accident.
Get Medical Attention
You should see a doctor even if you think you’re okay. Your body produces adrenaline when you’re in an accident, and that can make it difficult to determine whether or not you’re actually in pain. You shouldn’t assume that any pain you do feel will go away in time. You should always be examined by a professional. Documenting your injuries can only benefit you when you file an injury claim later on.
Report the Accident to Your Insurance
Contact your insurance company. It’s standard to immediately notify insurance companies if you’ve been involved in a car accident. If you don’t do this, your claim could be denied. With that said, you won’t want to talk about specifics, such as injuries or fault, until after you’ve spoken with a Santa Ana car accident attorney.
Talk to a Lawyer
An experienced car accident attorney in Santa Ana, CA, can help you with every step of your claim. Working with an attorney also means that you’re more likely to receive a significant settlement. You may not know what you need to do after an accident, which is why you’ll benefit greatly from a lawyer’s expertise.
How Do You Dispute Fault in a Car Accident?You always have the option of disputing fault in an auto accident. You can do this with your insurance company or with the police officer that wrote your accident report.
If you believe that the facts in the accident report are incorrect, or if you notice the mistake, you are entitled to file a supplemental report. Our recommendation is that you do this sooner rather than later. In some cases, officers make minor mistakes. For example, they may incorrectly identify the color of the vehicle. In other situations, the problem may be more severe. An officer may have inaccurately described a statement you made, which could have an impact on the officer’s conclusion in the report.
If this is what happened, you should write your own detailed account. This will serve as a supplemental report. Bring your account to the police station where the report was filed. Ask that your statement be attached to the original report. You won’t be able to change the legal conclusion that the officer came to, but you will be able to document your description of events.
You shouldn’t panic if the officer made a mistake. It’s important to remember that accident reports can’t be admitted as evidence. It may have an impact on the liability decision of an insurance adjuster, but this is also something that you can dispute. The smartest thing you can do is work with a qualified accident attorney near Santa Ana that can assist you through every step of this process. Insurance adjusters aren’t eager to change liability decisions, which is why you’ll want to have expert-level support.
How Can an Attorney Help a Car Accident Claim?
You may think that you can handle your insurance company yourself. In our experience, however, most clients feel overwhelmed when it comes to filing bodily injury and property damage claims. Hiring a lawyer will protect you, but it will also make your life easier.
If you suspect that accident fault will be under dispute, hiring an attorney will really help you. Making a claim with disputed liability isn’t easy. You’ll want to work with an accomplished lawyer that knows how to handle these obstacles and challenges.
You should work with an attorney even if the accident fault is not disputed. Insurance companies have legal teams, and if you don’t have your own lawyer working for you, your demands may be denied. Insurance adjusters offer higher settlements to people that are represented by lawyers. This is because they know it is more likely that they will face a lawsuit if they refuse to settle. Hiring a lawyer gives you leverage.
Hire a Santa Ana Car Accident Attorney With the Crockett Law Group
Our team of auto accident attorneys is focused on ensuring that the interests of accident victims are properly represented. Insurance companies often treat accident victims poorly, and we can work to prevent that. You can count on our Santa Ana injury law firm to handle every part of your injury claim. We’ll work with you until you receive the settlement that you’re entitled to. If you’ve been involved in an auto accident, and you’ve been injured, talk to an auto accident attorney at Crockett Law Group right away. Just call (800) 900-9393 to reach out to us.