Dublin, CA asked in Personal Injury and Civil Rights for California

Q: I was passenger in an auto accident. I didn't go to the hospital after the accident, but now I'm in serious pain.

What do I do next and do I pick a doctor lawyer? I didn't get the other party's info yet, should I do that before I do anything? What do I need to bring to these appointments? Thank you

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4 Lawyer Answers
William John Light
William John Light
  • Civil Rights Lawyer
  • Riverside, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: First, get needed medical attention. It's always a little suspicious when people get lawyers before they see a doctor.

Second, make a police report, if you haven't done so already.

Third, get a consultation from a personal injury attorney. Any attorney that you hire will work with you in identifying the responsible party(ies). You should be ready to provide either the police report, or the report number, your drivers license, auto insurance, health insurance, photos of damage to your car, photos of visible injuries, document/receipts from your medical care, a list of your medical providers for the 5 prior years, social security number, etc.

1 user found this answer helpful

A: First, it is common that people don't experience pain right away. Don't worry that you didn't go to the hospital immediately. The injuries caused by this wreck will still be covered by the responsible party's insurance.

Second, I tell my clients to let their symptoms be their guide. If your pain is too extreme to wait to see a family practitioner for guidance, I recommend that you go to the E.R. You should take your auto insurance information with you, or if you can get it, the auto insurance information that covers the vehicle you were riding in. Also, take your health insurance information with you. In Utah, no-fault insurance covers, at a minimum, your first $3,000 in bills with any medical provider. This may be different in CA so you will want CA counsel to advise you about CA no-fault laws.

Third, you don't need the police report or the other party's info at this stage. A lawyer can get that for you later. The no-fault insurance or your health insurance should cover your medical bills until the responsible parties' insurance settles your claim.

Theodore Allan Greene agrees with this answer

1 user found this answer helpful

Manuel Alzamora Juarez
Manuel Alzamora Juarez PRO label
  • Berkeley, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: Go to the doctor first. Call your lawyer afterwards. Best of luck.

Dale S. Gribow
Dale S. Gribow
  • Criminal Law Lawyer
  • Palm Desert, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: i write a weekly legal column on Accidents and DUI's.

this article from last month might be of help.


We all should forgive an at fault driver for an accident, because it is just that… an accident and not an intentional act. However, everyone would agree that the accident victim deserves to be fairly compensated for their pain and suffering. To get fair compensation, follow these tips:

1. STOP and take pictures with your cell phone of both cars, injuries, license and insurance info.

2. Call the police even if no injuries:

3. DO NOT TALK to anyone without your lawyer’s permission…it’s evidence. It’s not what you say but what the other party THOUGHT THEY HEARD YOU SAY. Get the other driver’s license and Insurance info. Also, TAKE DOWN YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA. The insurance companies watch your Facebook and Twitter posts, which may show you playing sports or talking about a vacation. This arguably suggests you are OK and do not need medical treatment and that you are able to lift your luggage.

4. Get medical attention asap by ambulance to the Hospital or Urgent Care… even if no apparent injuries:

Many Victims do not realize the severity of an injury and don’t seek immediate treatment. Later they realize the pain they are experiencing is accident related. Some victims don’t take an ambulance because they have to pick up their kids or they are concerned about the hospital and ambulance costs. Seeing the doctor before the lawyer always looks good but it is sometimes hard to find a lawyer that will take the case on a lien. However, if you or the car you were in has Med Pay that would it easier to find a doc.

5. DON’T give the hospital YOUR insurance/Medicare/ Medicaid information. Let your lawyer deal with it:

Once Medicare/Medicaid is notified it takes 6-12 months to get them to respond to lien payment information. In addition, there is a new law that the only medical bills that can be considered by the jury are those not paid by any insurance or Medicare/ Medicaid. If Eisenhower charges $50,000 and they have an arrangement with Medicare etc to accept $9,000 as payment in full and the patient then responsible for $1,000 we can only submit $1,000 for the jury to consider. A few years ago that $50,000 medical bill would result in a $150,000 settlement offer. If $1,000 is all the V has to pay we will get settlement offers of $2500 to $3500.

6. Contact a LOCAL Lawyer immediately:

If no attorney, the insurance company can contact you to get a statement. Your lawyer will never know what you said or what the adjuster/investigator thought he heard you say. With a lawyer there is less of a chance for a “mistake”.

7. Let your lawyer assist in obtaining medical care on a lien with a doctor that knows how to write a medical report. The doctor’s report is almost as important as the injuries the doctor writes down. Ordering Physical Therapy rather than having you sit in a hot bath is crucial too. A lawyer should urge you to list all injuries from the top of your head to the bottom of your toes and to take that list to each doctor’s appointment. All that information should be shared with each medical provider. Arm you doctor with ALL your medical complaints

8. Go to your lawyer’s body shop:

9. Purchase high insurance limits including UM:

10. Follow instructions and agree to go to trial when necessary. Do not sign anything. The paper you sign could be a release…or just an authorization to obtain your medical records. Do not trust the adjuster who says if you have further problems they will take care of it.


i am in the Palm Springs area and trust you are not. if you need help, please call and i will try to give you some direction.

however, whether a lawyer accepts the case or not may depend on how long ago the accident occurred?

what you and the doctor put down in notes. Amount of property damage is also an issue.

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