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Holiday traffic & car accidents: Tips for handling the aftermath

Now that the busy holiday season is in full swing, you may have noticed a lot more traffic than usual. As people rush to buy gifts and attend holiday parties, streets in the Bay Area are busier these days.

Of course, drivers with Christmas to-dos on their mind are often distracted, making car accidents more likely. In today’s post, we’ll discuss some things to keep in mind if you are involved in a crash that may have been caused by another driver’s negligence.

No matter how the accident occurred, your first responsibility is to ensure that you and all other parties involved are in stable medical condition or are receiving medical attention. If you can help it, you should avoid saying “I’m OK,” unless you qualify it with “at the moment.” You may have injuries that have not become apparent yet. If you later try to file an injury claim, the other driver or your insurance company may try to argue that you claimed to be fine right after the accident.

It’s also important to avoid admitting fault, even partial fault. This includes apologizing for the accident. The words you say (or avoid saying) in the aftermath of the crash could significantly impact your ability to seek compensation later on.

Once you determine that everyone is stable, you should collect all the information that you can. Where and when did the accident happen? Do you have the other driver’s license plate number and insurance information? Did you call the police to get an official record of the accident? More evidence can and will be gathered later, but it is important to gather what evidence you can at the scene.

Finally, you should report the accident to your auto insurer without saying any more than necessary. Any statements suggesting you were at fault for the crash or suggesting that you are uninjured could be used against you later. Before you accept a settlement or give more details to your insurer, you may want to speak with an experienced personal injury attorney who can better explain your rights and options.

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