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Accident victims are often faced with insurmountable bills after a car accident: ambulance rides, medical bills, and emergency room fees. In the months and years that follow even more costs may arise, like medications, therapies and follow-up visits to the doctor.

If a car accident caused your injury, California law protects you from crushing debt by providing money damages to victims. By following these steps after a car accident, you can help yourself by ensuring your eligibility for a settlement that will pay your bills.

1. Seek immediate medical treatment

Medical documentation provides proof that the accident caused your injuries.

2. Report the accident to your insurance agent

Reporting the accident is likely required by your policy, and will protect your rights.

3. Keep all bills and paperwork

Bills and documentation will allow you to demonstrate the financial costs of your accident. Be sure to include any bills for expenses that result from changes to your health or abilities. This can include ramps, handrails, aides or assistants, or other necessary accommodations.

4. Keep a diary of your recovery

Documenting your recovery can help the court understand the pain and suffering you endured. Be sure to keep all your medical appointments as well. Missing treatments may allow the court to think that you are not as injured as you claim.

5. Do not talk about your accident

This includes discussing it with friends and family or posting on social media. Save your story for your trial if one becomes necessary.

Helping yourself after an accident can ensure that you do not suffer financial repercussions for incidents that are not your fault. Protect yourself and your family by following these steps.