Every driver fears getting into a car accident – but no matter how careful a driver you are, you cannot avoid the possibility entirely.
Los Angeles County sees more accidents than almost any other city in California. We are prepared for what to do when something can give us a massive advantage in this terrifying and stressful situation.
What should you do immediately after a car accident? When accidents happen, injuries could be severe, and emotions are high.
Immediately after the car accident, you mustn't discuss fault with anyone or apologize for the accident. Be polite to the other driver. If asked by the police, you can give your side of the story, but don't discuss fault.
Just stick to the facts. Don't post your accident on social media, as the statements could be used against you later.
If you have sustained severe injuries, you need to remember that the opposing party will be looking for evidence to exaggerate your injuries' extent.
Pictures by accident victims engaging in physical activity posted on social media have frequently been used at the trial to challenge the extent of injuries.
There are several essential things to do at the accident scene and afterward. Our Los Angeles personal injury attorneys have significant experience assisting victims of motor vehicle accidents. Over the years, we have made a list of the most important things you should do after a car accident.
1) Stop and Collect Yourself
When something goes wrong – especially on the road – you will be upset, worried, more than a little freaked out, and possibly injured.
It is easy in a situation like that to let your instincts overwhelm your sense, but it's at that moment that it's most important to fight that instinct.
Stop. Never leave the accident scene. If you go, especially when someone has sustained injuries or been killed, you could face serious criminal charges for being a hit-and-run driver.
Take an assessment of what's going on. Are you injured? In a moment of adrenaline, it can be easy not to notice that you are, so check yourself and anyone else involved.
Make sure you're calm before you engage with the other driver, and if the other driver isn't quiet, simply withdraw until they are. Make sure you are safe – if it's dark, make sure your flashers are on and set up flares if you have them. Don't leave the scene.
2) Your Phone Is Your Best Friend
Even 20 years ago, getting in an accident caused many additional, more minor headaches. Today, with cell phones ubiquitous, many of those headaches are gone.
The first thing that you can do with your phone is to call for police and medical personnel if you are injured. While you're waiting for them, here is a list of other things that you can use your phone to document that would have been harder or possibly impossible without it:
- Record what happened. Don't embellish or make guesses; just record your current understanding of what just happened as best you can.
- Take pictures of the area, including the cars and any damage you see.
- If you're injured, take pictures of yourself as well!
- Exchange information with the other driver. You can email the info yourself with a phone, rather than writing it down on a scrap of paper you might lose.
- Who was in the car with you?
- What was the weather like?
- What was the traffic like?
- What were you doing at the moment leading up to the car accident?
- What happened at the moment right after the car accident?
- What did the other driver say to you right after the car accident?
- If anyone nearby saw what happened, you can get their information and even record what they have to say.
- Report the accident to your insurance.
3) See a Medical Professional
If you did not need emergency medical treatment after your accident, you might be under the mistaken impression that you do not need to see a doctor. Anyone involved in an accident needs to undergo a thorough medical evaluation for two reasons:
Your Physical Well-Being – Just because you did not need emergency medical treatment, it does not mean that you were not seriously injured.
Many injuries may not be symptomatic immediately after an accident, including severe internal injuries and whiplash.
In addition, injuries that initially seem minor may be surprisingly severe and require medical attention. Seeing a doctor after an accident will ensure that your injuries are identified and that you start any recommended treatment as soon as possible.
Your Financial Recovery – Recovering compensation after a Los Angeles motor vehicle accident requires you to show that your injuries were caused by your accident and for you to establish the damages that you have sustained.
If you wait to get your injuries diagnosed, it may give the insurance company a chance to argue that some intervening event was the actual cause of your injuries (or that it made them worse).
In addition, if you wait, the insurance company may try to argue that your injuries are not as severe as you are claiming that they are. You should avoid talking to the other person's insurance company.
If their insurance company representative asks you for a recorded statement, politely decline. They are trained to word questions that might give them ammunition to use against you.
Their goal is to settle the car accident case for the least possible. Please consult with a lawyer at our law firm immediately.
Our attorneys can take over all the legal details and reduce the stress by dealing with the insurance companies on your behalf. Our injury law firm can also help you get the quality medical care you deserve.
4) Protect Your Rights – Contact an Accident Lawyer
Always remember – you might think at the moment that the accident was minor and unimportant, only to find out later that there is damage to your car or injury to yourself that you didn't realize at the time.
Even if you think it was minor, you never want to be in a situation where you treated the accident casually and then get a call from the other party's lawyer weeks later.
As soon as you are able, you need to consult with our personal injury attorneys, who will ensure your claim is handled efficiently and your legal rights protected.
Remember that insurance companies involved in your claim will have teams of lawyers.
We know how fair a settlement offer is and when a case should be brought to trial. Hire an attorney with the experience you need to ensure you have peace of mind. At Injury Justice Law Firm, we will make sure you're taken care of at a difficult time. Contact us today for a free consultation at 310-734-7974.