Getting back into the swing of things: Driving, accidents, and what to do if you’re in one.
For many of us, the past few months have felt like our lives have been turned upside down during this Coronavirus pandemic. We barely recall the days stuck in traffic, sitting at red lights, hours spent day and night in cars heading to work, school, or errands. On the other hand, we’re more aware of that routine than ever as COVID-19 restrictions lift, and we get back out into the world. While society reimagines “the new normal,” one thing we can’t avoid is our commute.
California has some of the most prominent commuter cities in the United States and cars are the primary mode of transportation. The more we drive, the higher our risk of being in a car accident or injured. Alongside the usual worries, add in we’re now “out of practice.” Whatever actions you take to protect yourself while driving, things happen we can’t always control as the driver of a vehicle.
If you are involved in a car accident, what you do next is important. Here are three points to remember to move things along – so you can get back to your normal:
1. Get a medical exam
Health and safety should always come first but in the heat of the moment, you’re not always thinking clear. Your desire to get back to your day can make you rush the process at the scene thinking, “It’s not that serious.” And you may, in fact, feel fine at the time.
Adrenaline is powerful and when an accident happens, it can make you ignore signs of injury that crop up later. It’s worth having medical personnel give you a check to identify potential trauma.
If you decline at the time, seek an exam as soon as possible afterward. It sounds inconvenient in a world of “there’s no time,” yet makes a huge difference in getting life back to normal. You don’t want to be left reeling with discomfort, medical bills, and no recourse – see a doctor!
2. Create documentation
Briefly forget the cell phone stigma and use it as the valuable tool it is. Call 911 or emergency services, take notes about what happened, take pictures of – your vehicle, all other vehicles, and the scene of the accident. The priority should be getting medics and police to the accident scene, followed by documenting the area as you can, with safety in mind, and taking notes of the situation as they occur.
Your records created in the period directly after an accident provides beneficial information to piece together events that seem blurry in hindsight. This will also be beneficial for insurance companies when establishing who was at fault.
3. Consult an attorney
Don’t wait for months while medical bills grow and insurance pushes back on your claim to seek a professional opinion. A legal consultation is not a contractual agreement to use the attorney’s services, but it provides specialized insight on your unique situation and options to ease your burden.
Many attorneys will provide a free telephonic consultation to discuss your options at no cost or obligation to use their services in the future. At the very least, get answers to your questions and learn about how to protect yourself during the claims process. You can contact us anytime.
Whether you’re going back to work now, will be in the coming weeks, or just finally making those trips to the grocery store you never thought you’d miss, Californians are getting back on the roads and traffic is going to increase. Keep the above three tips in mind if you’re in a car accident and you’ll set yourself up for success – and getting back to your “new normal.”