Hopefully, you will never be involved in a car accident. However, it’s important to be familiar with the steps you should take after a crash. This is particularly true in a state like California, which has a high car accident rate.
You can minimize your chances of being involved in a car accident by practicing safe driving habits and prioritizing vehicle maintenance. Unfortunately, you can’t control other driver’s choices behind the wheel.
If you’re ever involved in a car accident, you should take the following steps. They will protect you from additional harm and help you pursue compensation after your accident.
A car accident can be a very traumatic experience. It’s understandable if you feel panicked after your wreck.
However, you should attempt to remain as calm as possible. Your primary goal should be to check yourself and your passengers for signs of serious injury. If everyone is unharmed, get to safety.
Your vehicle may be inoperable. You might also be in danger from nearby traffic, depending on where the accident occurred. Therefore, you should carefully assess the situation and determine the best way to move to a safe spot.
Calling 911 is critical in the aftermath of an accident. You and others may need medical care, even if you haven’t noticed any signs of injury. You should also call 911 so that police can respond to the accident and document the conditions at the scene.
Check on Other Drivers
It can be very tempting to feel anger towards another driver who caused your accident. However, you should check to confirm all drivers and passengers involved in the accident are safe and injury-free. Once you have, you should also get their names, contact information, and insurance information.
Document the Scene
California is an at-fault state for auto insurance and auto accidents. If someone else caused your accident, you might be able to recover compensation for your medical bills and losses through the other party’s insurance.
You’ll have a better chance of being successful if you have evidence proving negligence. Thus, it’s important to preserve evidence right away.
Get the names and contact information of any witnesses of your accident. Take down their license plate numbers if they’re unwilling to provide contact information. Next, take pictures of the scene, as well as any visual evidence of your injuries.
When the police arrive, you should answer their questions and cooperate with them. Just remember to refrain from speculating when they ask you questions. A misstatement to the police can harm your chances of collecting compensation later.
Seek Medical Care
You should see a doctor immediately after your accident, regardless of whether you believe you’ve been injured. Some injuries aren’t noticeable right away. A medical professional should evaluate you to determine if you need treatment.
If you are unwilling to go to the hospital in an ambulance, you should state your intention to see a physician. Seeing a physician after your accident will improve your chances of recovering compensation later.
If you don’t see a doctor and symptoms of an injury develop days or weeks later, an insurance company could potentially deny your claim. They could argue you haven’t shown proof your injuries were caused by the accident. Alternatively, they could claim you failed to mitigate your damages.
Keep Your Records
Save all records and evidence relating to your accident. This may include medical bills, pictures of the scene, receipts, a written or recorded narrative of the accident, and more.
Report the Accident
Let your insurance company know about the accident. Even if someone else caused it, your insurer likely requires you to report when an accident has occurred.
Contact a Car Accident Attorney in Your Area
Under California personal injury law, you may be able to recover compensation for losses resulting from your accident. An attorney can help strengthen your car accident claim. Contact a car accident attorney in California to review your case. Many personal injury lawyers will evaluate your case for free.