Archives for April 2012

Take the Right Steps in the Early Stages of a Car Accident Case

Car Accident Case

The decisions you make in the moments, hours and days after a California car accident can have important consequences for your legal and financial interests. A good way to protect yourself if you have been in a car accident is to know what steps to take and in what order.

Until you have the chance to discuss your case with an experienced lawyer, you’ll be acting on your own. Any serious mistakes you make can expose you to criminal punishment as well as hurting your chance of recovering damages from the other driver’s insurer or your own.

Six Essentials After a California Car Accident

The following recommendations will help you avoid problems while protecting your legal interests in the immediate aftermath of an auto accident in the Bay Area. Then it’s a good idea to discuss your situation with an attorney who can provide additional advice about your legal options. Contact the law firm of Weber & Nierenberg in San Francisco, Oakland, San Jose or San Rafael for a free consultation.

Here’s what you need to do right after a car accident in California:

    1. Stop and Stay at the Scene. If you hit something or someone, stop. If someone hits you, stop. Leaving the scene of an accident until you take care of some essential business is a serious crime and could not only create major problems for your license, it could send you to jail.

 

    1. Do What You Can for Injured Persons. Before you leave an accident scene, you and the other driver (if any) should check to see if anyone was hurt and do what you can to help – call 911, render first aid, or take an injured person to the hospital as soon as possible. Don’t worry about getting sued for injuries caused by your efforts in an emergency situation — California’s Good Samaritan Law will protect you from liability.

 

    1. Exchange Information With the Other Driver. California law requires you to give the following information to the other driver: your name, address and phone number; your auto insurance carrier and contact information; and your license plate number. You have the right to receive the same information concerning any other driver involved with the accident. If any witnesses stopped, get their names and phone numbers, too. Do not express opinions about whether you are hurt, who caused the crash, or any other matters that could later come up as evidence in a lawsuit.
    2. Report the Accident to the DMV. State law requires you to report any motor vehicle accident that results in property damage over $750 or an injury of any kind to a person. You need to complete a DMV Form SR 1 (“Report of Accident Occurring in California”) and send it in within 10 days of the accident. It’s not enough to report the accident to local law enforcement, call 911 or give a statement to a police officer.

 

    1. Report the Accident to Your Insurance Company. Your auto insurance policy requires timely notification before you will be entitled to receive coverage under your own policy. You are also under an obligation to cooperate with your insurer in its investigation of your claim or any claim against you. That doesn’t mean you should answer all questions right away, though. Give your insurer a bare-bones report of the accident right away, then politely decline to give more detailed information until you have consulted with an attorney.

 

    1. If You Were Hurt in Any Way, Get Medical Treatment. In the most serious accidents, victims will be taken be taken by ambulance to the nearest emergency room, then perhaps transferred to a regional trauma center. In the less serious range of accidents, however, people will often be tempted to decline treatment and continue on their way. This is a mistake. Many low-impact car accidents cause apparently minor injuries that will not get better on their own. Get medical treatment right away, if only to get an idea of what symptoms to watch out for.

 

Once you take care of these six essential steps right after a car accident, it’s time to consider legal advice about your insurance coverage, your right to personal injury damages, or your own risk of getting sued. With four offices throughout the San Francisco Bay Area, the personal injury law firm of Weber & Nierenberg has a regional reputation for excellence in client service and case results in car accident litigation of all kinds.

For a free consultation about your legal options following a car accident anywhere in the Bay Area, contact Weber & Nierenberg in San Francisco, Oakland, San Jose or San Rafael. To learn more about our lawyers’ experience and our firm’s approach to auto accident claims, see our website at www.weberandnierenberg.com.

Making Smart Decisions About Emergency Medical Treatment

Emergency Medical Treatment

If you have been involved in an auto accident recently, you have a lot to think about. Getting your car repaired, arranging for a loaner vehicle, dealing with your insurer, or responding to a traffic citation can all seem like top priorities in the immediate aftermath of a car crash.

In the most serious motor vehicle accidents, of course, emergency medical treatment will be the first thing to look after when a driver, passenger, bicyclist or pedestrian was badly hurt. In low-impact or single-vehicle accidents, however, when there appears to be no serious injury, people often forget that soft-tissue trauma in the knee, shoulder, wrist or neck can cause serious problems for a long time to come.

If you need advice about the best ways to seek and obtain effective medical treatment after a car accident of any severity, contact the California personal injury attorneys at Weber & Nierenberg for a free consultation about your options. With offices in San Francisco, Oakland, San Jose and San Rafael, our law firm is convenient to clients throughout the Bay Area. Our lawyers have recovered millions for people with injuries of all kinds under a wide variety of accident scenarios.

Emergency Treatment Is the Starting Point for Your Medical Evidence

One problem that car accident victims have in common is the need to prove their injuries in detail, with proper medical evidence, and with a solid projection of future treatment needs. This is true in multimillion-dollar disability cases, strain or sprain cases, and everything in between. Unfortunately, people whose injuries do not seem to be especially serious often decline emergency medical treatment, only to discover later that they are experiencing problems that were probably caused by the accident.

If you wait too long to get medical attention for car accident injuries, you run the risk that you won’t be able to prove a connection between the collision and your health problems. If you were hurt in any way at all, you should get medical attention as soon as possible. Don’t be surprised if you come out of the emergency room with a clean bill of health, only to discover symptoms in the following days or weeks. Certain injuries to the head, neck, back or joints can get worse instead of better over time. Not all injuries are identified or diagnosed in emergency treatment, either.

Protect Your Interest in Full Compensation for Car Accident Injuries

By getting medical attention shortly after an accident, you’re creating a clinical starting point for the evaluation, treatment and eventual compensation for any injuries that might have been caused or aggravated by the crash. You should also keep in mind that so-called minor injuries do not always respond to conservative treatment, even if for most people similar symptoms clear up soon.

At Weber & Nierenberg, we have seen many cases where soft-tissue injuries to the knee, shoulder, neck or back turned out to generate six-figure accident claims due to missed work, repeated surgeries, or chronic pain and suffering that proved resistant to medication and chiropractic treatment.

If you refuse medical treatment right after an accident, you are unnecessarily complicating the process of proving a causal relationship between the injuries that might later develop and the car crash. If an insurance company sees the opportunity to deny or limit coverage for an accident claim, it will certainly pursue it. Early medical attention is one of your most effective tools for protecting your interest in full compensation.

Call 866-288-6010 to Discuss Your Injuries With an Attorney

Learn more about the ways experienced Bay Area personal injury lawyers can help you get the most out of your available medical coverage while protecting your interest in full compensation for apparently minor injuries. Contact us at any of our four locations for a free consultation, or visit our website at www.weberandnierenberg.com.

 
 
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