Car accidents can happen to anyone, anywhere, and at any time. The experience of being in a car accident can be traumatizing, regardless of whether the occupants suffered injuries. Understanding the necessary steps after a car accident is vital to guarantee your safety, safeguard your rights, and receive fair reimbursement for any damages or losses. Here are the actions to take after a car accident in Southern California.
- Stay Calm and Check for Injuries
After a car accident, the first thing to do is to stay calm and assess yourself and other passengers for injuries. If anyone is hurt, call 911 immediately and wait for medical assistance. Even if there are no visible injuries, it is imperative to get medical attention. A medical assessment can detect injuries like whiplash, which may not immediately be noticeable. Also, medical records can be beneficial if you file a lawsuit against the other driver. Delaying your visit to the doctor after an auto accident may make it difficult to establish that the accident caused your injuries.
- Stay at the Scene of the Accident
Even if you are tempted to flee the accident scene, do not, as you may face criminal charges. Moreover, if you flee the scene, it may become more challenging to determine who is responsible for the accident. Remember that in Southern California, the principle of comparative negligence is in effect, implying that even if you bear some responsibility for the accident, you may still be able to obtain some award for your damages.
- Contact the Police
It is essential to contact the police and report the accident, regardless of how minor it may seem. When speaking with the officer, communicate the accident’s location, any urgent medical attention needed, and potential hazards, such as an overturned fuel tanker. Upon arrival, provide the police officer with an accurate and truthful account of the accident. A police report can be beneficial when negotiating with insurance companies and determining fault. Make sure to obtain a copy of the police report
- Relocate Your Car
If you are not injured, relocate your car to a safe location, like a roadside, and turn on your hazard lights. Moving your vehicle can prevent the occurrence of further accidents. However, it is essential not to relocate your car if you or anyone else has sustained severe injuries. Instead, wait for emergency services to arrive before taking further action.
- Capture Photographs of the Scene of the Accident
Following an auto accident, taking photos of the scene is essential. Some essential things to photograph include:
- The damage to both vehicles involved in the accident
- The other car’s license plate number
- Any visible bodily injuries sustained
- Debris or skid marks on the street
Your lawyer and the insurance adjuster can use these photographs to determine what happened during the accident and establish who is at fault.
- Exchange Information
Exchange information with the other driver(s) involved in the accident. This includes sharing your name, phone number, contact address, and insurance information. Obtaining the same information from the other driver(s) is also essential. However, limiting the conversation to only the necessary information is recommended to avoid misunderstandings or disputes.
- Do Not Admit Fault
After an auto accident, it is crucial not to admit fault, regardless of whether you believe you are at fault. Admission of fault can be used against you in court, making it difficult to obtain fair compensation for damages or injuries, so avoiding apologizing or assigning blame is crucial. Remain calm and only stick to the facts of the accident.
- Talk to Witnesses
If there are any witnesses to the car accident, it is essential to talk to them and gather their contact information. Additionally, if possible, ask the witnesses to stay at the scene of the accident until the police arrive so they can provide their statements to the police. Witness statements can be critical evidence in determining fault and liability in a car accident case, so gathering as much information as possible is imperative.
- Notify Your Insurance Company
Notify your insurance company promptly about the accident, regardless of whether you were at fault. You can provide them with a copy of the police report or any medical bills related to the injuries sustained in the accident. However, it is best to only give a statement to your claims adjuster after consulting with your attorney. Your attorney can help you understand your statement’s legal implications and safeguard your rights.
- Keep Records
Keep detailed records of all expenses related to the accident. Keep all receipts and bills safe, as they will be necessary for determining the damages to which you are entitled.
- Contact an Experienced Car Accident Lawyer
If you suffered harm in the accident, contacting a car accident lawyer might be a good idea. A lawyer can ensure you meet the statute of limitations for a car accident lawsuit and help you obtain fair compensation.
- Be Patient
Finally, be patient and do not rush the claims process. Car accidents can take time to resolve, so it is important to be patient and follow your lawyer’s advice throughout the process.
Are You Searching for a Car Accident Lawyer in Southern California?
If you are looking for an experienced car accident lawyer in Southern California, look no further than Avaness Law. We can guide you through the claims process and assist you in recovering maximum compensation for your damages. Contact the seasoned Burbank car accident lawyer at Avaness Law today for a free consultation.