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The Do’s and Don’ts After a Car Accident: Important Tips for Winning your Injury Claim

If you have been injured in a car accident, you can receive compensation for medical bills, lost wages, and related expenses from either your car insurance company or the other driver’s insurance company, depending on who was at fault. Solid evidence makes your claim stronger. You want to prepare as much documentation as possible when submitting a claim to the car insurance company. Here’s how to get the most out of your personal injury claim after an accident.

Do’s:

  • Make a police report after an accident.
  • Get the following information from the other driver: his/ her name, address, driver’s license number, home phone, work phone, cell phone, vehicle license plate, insurance company’s name and policy number. (Look at his/ her driver’s license for verification).
  • Get contact information from all witnesses at the scene.
  • Take photos of the damage to your car and of the accident scene.
  • Notify the DMV. In California, the DMV must be notified of any accident where there has been (1) an injury (no matter how small), (2) death, or (3) property damage in excess of $750.
  • If you were injured, it is extremely important that you see a medical provider
  • A checkup may be a good idea for both you and your passengers if any of you have concerns about your health. You could be injured and not know it.
  • Notify your insurance company of the accident even if the other party is at fault.
  • Keep a diary of all your injuries, pain, and emotional feelings. Make notes, on weather and road conditions. Be sure to record the exact time, date and place the accident happened.
  • In California you are entitled to recover lost wages for the time you were off work, even if you used your sick pay or received other disability benefits.
  • Keep all records, physical evidence or photos, and submit them to your personal injury attorney.

Don’ts:

  • Do not give a statement to the police about the accident if you are disoriented, injured, or shaken up. Advise the police officer of your condition.
  • Do not give an oral or written statement to the other driver’s insurance company, until you consult with attorney.
  • Do not sign any authorizations sent to you by the other driver’s insurance.
  • Do not settle your property damage claim until all repairs have been done to your satisfaction.
  • Do not enter into any settlement of your personal injury claim until you have recovered from your injuries and know the full extent of your injuries.
  • Do not exaggerate your injuries.
  • Do not discuss the accident with anyone, including all social media, such as Facebook.

If you plan to sue, do not delay. There are time limits for filing various types of claims—so act quickly. Contact the experts at Sisneros Graziani LLP for a free consultation and evaluation of your case. We will fight to get you the compensation you deserve!

Preparation and Information: Meeting with a Personal Injury Attorney

It can be intimidating when first contacting an attorney after an injury—but it shouldn’t be! Here are some things to do and consider as you begin the process. First, come to the appointment prepared. Bring copies of all records and other documentation related to the underlying incident. You can also prepare a list of questions to take with you to your first meeting. Here are some great questions for your attorney.

    • How many personal injury claims have you handled? Have any of those claims gone to trial? Of those, how many were decided in favor of the plaintiff?
    • What percentage of your practice is devoted to personal injury cases like mine?
    • How long have you been in practice?
    • Do you usually represent injured people or people who are being sued?
    • What problems do you foresee with my case?
    • What are my options as far as insurance claim versus lawsuit?
    • How long will it take to bring the matter to a conclusion?
    • How does the law firm/lawyer charge for services?
    • What types of experts would the lawyer use to help bolster your case?
    • What is the time limit (set by a law called a “statute of limitations”) by which you must have the case settled/the lawsuit filed?
    • Would the lawyer handle the case personally or would it be passed on to someone else in the firm? If other lawyers or staff may do some of the work, can you meet them?

Accident lawsuits are often complex affairs, involving evidence gathering, expert witnesses, and a detailed knowledge of law. As a result, it’s important for accident victims to find an attorney who is experienced in injury cases in particular. If you are in the San Francisco area and want to learn more about your claim at no cost to you, contact Sisneros Graziani LLP for a free case evaluation.

Biking the City Safely

While bicycle accidents often happen because drivers are careless or negligent, the proliferation of bicyclists has made drivers more conscious of bikes on the road. Unfortunately, many bicycle-related crashes resulting in injury or death are associated with the bicyclist’s behavior, but the good news is that there are simple ways to prevent a San Francisco bike accident.

To maximize safety while riding a bicycle, always remember to:

  • Wear a properly fitted bicycle helmet. Protect your brain; save your life.
  • Adjust your bicycle to fit. There should be 1 to 2 inches between you and the top tube (bar) if using a road bike and 3 to 4 inches if a mountain bicycle. The seat should be level front to back. The seat height should be adjusted to allow a slight bend at the knee when the leg is fully extended. The handlebar height should be at the same level with the seat.
  • Check your equipment. Before riding, inflate tires properly and check that your brakes work.
  • See and be seen. Whether daytime, dawn, dusk, poor weather, or at night, you need to be seen by others. Always wear neon, fluorescent, or other bright colors when riding day or night. Also wear something that reflects light, such as reflective clothing, tape, markings, or flashing lights.
  • Control your bicycle. Always ride with at least one hand on the handlebars.
  • Watch for and avoid road hazards. Be on the lookout for hazards such as cable car grooves, potholes, broken glass, gravel, puddles, leaves, and dogs.
  • Obey all traffic laws. When you ride in the street, obey all traffic signs, signals, and lane markings.
  • Stay alert at all times. Use your eyes AND ears. You need your ears to hear traffic and avoid dangerous situations; wearing a headset decreases your ability to perceive potential hazards.

If you or a loved one has been injured in a bicycle accident due to the fault of another, contact the experts at Sisneros Graziani LLP for a free consultation. Our experienced personal injury attorneys will fight for the compensation you deserve. Read more about bicycle safety on the SF Muni website.