What to Do When You’re Involved in a Car Accident in California
The moments after a car accident can be confusing and full of panic. You may suffer from severe injuries or the shock of the moment numbs you to any pain. You may worry about the safety of your passengers, the other drivers, and any witnesses at the scene. While the aftermath of a car accident can be scary, these moments are crucial to collecting evidence and documenting details you can use in your future insurance claim or lawsuit.
Call 911 and Bring Law Enforcement to the Scene
The first action you should take after suffering injuries in a car accident is to call 911 and bring the police to the scene of the accident. Under California law, you have to report a car accident to law enforcement and the police officer who visits your scene can help determine how the accident occurred.
The officer will speak to both you and the other driver, witnesses, and passengers to document a narrative of the accident. The officer will produce a police report that will be a critical piece of evidence in your future claim. When the police arrive at the scene, request the report number and the officer’s name and badge number for your records.
Seek Immediate Medical Attention
After a car accident, you may not feel any pain or you could be suffering from serious, painful injuries. Regardless of your condition, you should seek medical attention as soon as possible following your claim. You may be in shock or you may have internal injuries you are not feeling the effects of yet. Visiting a doctor or hospital will help you identify any injuries and receive the treatment you need.
In addition, your medical report will be another important piece of evidence in your claim. You will use this document to calculate your damages and prove the existence of your injuries. If you do not seek immediate medical attention, the insurance company may claim that your injuries are not serious and reduce your settlement.
Document the Accident and Your Injuries
If you are able to move without pain, you should take steps immediately after your accident to document the scene and your injuries. Take pictures of any visible injuries on your body and damage to your vehicle. Take pictures of the other driver’s vehicle and the area around the scene, including the roadway, any damaged property, and any traffic signs and symbols in the area.
Collect Driver and Witness Information
You also want to collect the personal and insurance information of the other driver at the scene. You want to ensure that you have the driver’s name, address, and phone number, as well as the make and model of his or her car. Document his or her license plate number, insurance policy number, and insurance company for use in your future claim.
If there are any witnesses in the area, it is important to approach them and ask for their contact information as well. They could provide valuable testimony in a potential lawsuit. Ask these witnesses if you could take down their name, address, and phone number for use in your future claim.
Contact a Car Accident Attorney
As soon as you receive medical attention, you should contact an Orange County car accident attorney to help assist you with your claim. Your lawyer will help guide you through the insurance claim or lawsuit process, handling the filing and investigation for you so that you can recover You should contact an accident lawyer before you speak to an insurance adjuster. If an adjuster tries to contact you, tell him or her you cannot speak to the company until you consult an attorney.
The most important thing to do after a car accident is to call 911 and to receive medical attention for your injuries. After you feel well enough, contact an experienced car accident attorney as soon as possible. Your accident lawyer can help start your claim so that you can reach a settlement to compensate for your damages. Contact Bentley & More LLP today.