What Should I Do After a Car Crash in California?
Our dedicated and aggressive attorneys offer guidance to auto accident victims.
At Duque Law Firm, our experienced lawyers and staff understand how traumatic a serious car crash is for those involved. The accident itself is a shock, and the aftermath also can be confusing. To protect your right to compensation, our attorneys help you understand what to do after a car accident.
Steps to take if you are injured in an auto accident
Car accidents often result in serious injuries, including broken bones, amputations and spine injuries. In fact, more than 17 percent of traumatic brain injuries (TBI) are caused by vehicle accidents. If you were injured in Southern California or anywhere in California, lawyers recommend taking the following steps to protect your right to compensation:
Seek immediate medical care.
Whether you are injured in an SUV rollover, a multi-car pileup or any other type of vehicle accident, it is important to seek medical care immediately. Many injuries may not show symptoms for days or even weeks after an accident, so it is essential to be properly evaluated by a doctor to prevent further harm. In addition, seeking medical care documents of your injuries and the doctor’s records provide evidence that can help with a personal injury claim later on.
Report the accident
If anyone is seriously injured, dial 911 for immediate police and ambulance assistance. The police help secure the scene to prevent further injuries and take statements from everyone involved, as well as witnesses. Never admit fault for a car crash and make sure you speak to knowledgeable personal injury attorneys as soon as possible. Insist that the police officer write a traffic collision report. At the scene of the accident, the police will ask you whether you are injured. If you are not injured, the police will likely not write a traffic collision report about the accident and simply instruct you to exchange insurance information with the other party. If the police officer refuses to write a report, simply request the police officer name and badge number as well as his commanding officer’s name and telephone number.
Photograph the accident
Photos or videos of the scene of a car crash provide strong evidence. If you can, take photos of the vehicles involved, injuries and any other evidence, including road conditions, signs, skid marks or blown tires. If you do not have a camera, diagram and describe the accident. Do not wait until the insurance company takes pictures of the property damage. Photos of property damage taken by insurance companies are taken in the light most favorable to their insured, not you.
Collect contact information from others involved in the accident and witnesses, including insurance information, phone numbers and addresses. If a driver admits fault, ask him or her to sign a statement. Many smart phones have a recording or dictation devise built in. In some cases, it is easier to start the recorded, let the other driver know you are recording the statement. State names of the parties, the date, the location and time of the accident and the reason you are taking the recorded statement, then have the other party describe how he or she caused the accident. It is important to have the other party state that you did not do anything to contribute to the car accident. Many drivers initially admit fault verbally but later change their minds.
Contact an attorney as soon as possible
- Before discussing your case with anyone, especially an insurance company, contact an experienced car accident lawyer who can:
- Help you gather and preserve evidence
- Reconstruct the accident to determine cause
- Obtain valuable witness and expert testimony
- Aggressively protect you from insurance company tactics
Related Reading: 10 Car Accident Myths