Being involved in a car accident ranks as one of the most frightening and stressful things you may have to deal with during your lifetime. And with more than 6 million car accidents in the United States each year, they are an unfortunate reality that all drivers need to be prepared for.
Here are the most important steps you should take after a car accident in California:
1. Stay at the scene
Stay at the scene of the accident until it is appropriate for you to leave. Leaving the scene of a car accident, especially if someone has been seriously injured or killed, can result in you facing criminal charges.
2. Seek immediate medical attention
Get immediate medical attention for any injuries you have sustained. Even if you feel fine, get checked out by a doctor as soon as possible. You may have injuries that you are not aware of.
Note: You should never settle a car accident claim until your doctor has had ample time to assess your condition and fully understand your prognosis for recovery. Some injuries don’t manifest themselves for days, weeks, or even months after an accident. If you settle too soon, you may be missing out on compensation for ongoing medical treatment that may be needed to treat your injuries in the future.
3. Call 911
Make sure that everyone involved in the accident is OK. Then promptly call to have emergency medical personnel and local law enforcement dispatched to the scene. If anyone is seriously injured or unconscious, let the 911 dispatcher know, but do not attempt to move them unless they are in danger of further injury.
4. Get the police report number
The police may refuse to respond to the accident if it happened on private property, like a mall parking lot. But, if the police do respond, be sure to get the police report number, along with the reporting officer’s name and badge number.
5. Take photos
If you have a camera or smartphone, and it is safe for you to do so, take photos of the vehicles involved before they are moved. These photos will show how the vehicles collide and may be useful for establishing who was at fault for the accident.
6. Collect information
Exchange contact and insurance information with the other driver involved. Ask to see a copy of their insurance card and driver’s license, and write down the information. You can also snap a photo of their insurance card and driver’s license if that is more convenient.
Next, write down the color, make, model, and license plate number of the other vehicle involved. Finally, get names, addresses, and phone numbers from any witnesses. Whether they happen to be driving by, walking by, or riding inside of one of the vehicles involved, witnesses may provide information that is crucial to the success of your injury claim.
9. Discuss facts only
Refrain from making any comments about the accident unless you are answering questions from the police. And even then, you should only discuss the facts regarding the accident and how it happened. Do not discuss who is at fault for the accident. There is always the chance that those comments will be misinterpreted.
10. Contact your car insurance provider
Contact your insurance provider as soon as practically possible after the accident. Provide them with the basic facts regarding the accident and the number of the police report. The sooner you call, the sooner they can begin to investigate your claim.
Contact an Experienced California Car Accident Attorney
Finally, after being involved in a car accident in California, you should contact an experienced California car accident attorney, like those at eAccidents to assist you with the following:
1. Identifying all the sources of compensation that are available to reimburse you for any losses you have sustained;
2. Gathering the evidence you need to support your claim; and
3. Putting together a demand package to send to the liable insurance company’s.
Never entertain any insurance settlement offer without first consulting with one of the qualified California car accident lawyers at eAccidents. Studies show that car accident victims who hire a reputable law firm to represent them, recover far more compensation for their injuries and losses than those that do not.
Call eAccidents today @ 844-400-0123 to schedule a free consultation with a skilled California car accident attorney.