Updated: Aug 18
Post-Car Accident: Your Safety, Legal Options, And Future Wellbeing After A Car Accident in California
You may be unsure what to do if you have recently been in a car accident. Of course, no one wants to ever be in one, but it can happen in times when you least expect it. Additionally, car accidents mean more than just getting yourself to safety and getting medical help. Car accidents have consequences on your physical health, work life, expenses, and emotional well-being.
A car accident in California will have one of two outcomes:
A. You were seriously injured and need legal representation for your personal injury claim, or
B. You were not injured and need to pursue a civil case for property damage.
In either scenario, you must contact a California Bar Certified lawyer referral service for a FREE CASE ANALYSIS. In this post, we'll do a rundown of all the measures you need to take in order to reduce the consequential losses in an unfortunate car accident.
There will be vehicle accidents as long as there are dangerous, careless, and inattentive drivers. There will also be drunk drivers and drivers who could be genuinely unfamiliar with the area and miss road signs.
Not to mention, car accidents occur at an alarmingly high rate in Los Angeles. Yet, despite their frequency, many people are unsure what to do in the aftermath of a car accident.
What To Do After A Car Crash?
It is no secret that California has some of the busiest roadways in the country. Roads and highways can get highly congested due to tourists coming through the state on vacation, large commercial vehicles delivering goods locally and to the other side of the country, and local inhabitants on their way to or from work or errands. When many cars attempt to share the same route, traffic congestion, gridlock, and (most importantly) car accidents—both fatal and severe injury incidents—are almost certain to occur.
Even if there are no injuries, dealing with a car accident may be a tedious and challenging experience.
The future may be tough to focus on in the immediate aftermath of a collision. Still, the steps you take following a car accident may help you obtain the compensation you need to cover damages, medical expenses, and missed income.
We advise you to take the following crucial steps after a car accident:
Step 1: Seek medical care right away.
Check on yourself and your passengers, and if feasible, speak with the driver of the other vehicle. Even if it seems like no one is injured, dial 911 right away. Some injuries are not immediately apparent, and others may manifest symptoms days or weeks later.
Whether you need to be transferred to the hospital by ambulance, attempt to note the details around you, such as:
The other car's license plate
The number of persons in the vehicle
If any witnesses are prepared to assist in determining information
Step 2: If no one is wounded, attempt to move out of the traffic as soon as possible.
Many people are hurt in car accidents because other drivers fail to stop, yield, or see other cars on the road. If you're able to move without hurting yourself, it's best to get off the road and get out of the way of danger immediately.
If you need to settle something with witnesses or exchange insurance information with the others involved in the accident, do it at the side of the road.
Step 3: Look for important information concerning the accident.
First, take down the other driver's license plate in case they decide to depart the scene. Then, you can start taking in the details: Look for skid marks, shattered glass, and automobile components, among other things.
These could be crucial evidence for police who are conducting an investigation. If possible, take pictures of the accident scene.
Step 4: Exchange important information among the people involved, but don't discuss trickier matters among yourselves.
Obtain the necessary information from the driver who struck you. If multiple cars were involved, ask for the contact details of any other drivers involved in the collision. Request information such as their name, address, phone numbers, insurance providers, policy number, and agent.
Instead of discussing things like fault and settlements among yourselves, you should leave it up to your insurance providers to do so. Anything you want to address with the other driver(s) involved, take it up with the insurance firm or their lawyers.
Step 5: Speak with law enforcement.
Tell them everything that happened in the car crash. This will help log the details of the accident while it's still fresh in your memory. You might forget crucial details later, so getting them to log all of them into a report is your best way to preserve all the information you might need for future settlements, insurance, and personal injury claims.
However, even if you believe you are at blame, don't say so. After an investigation, you may discover that you were not at all to blame for the accident.
Step 6: Take photos of the scene.
Take photos of whatever you can, including the scene, car, other property damage, the road or intersection, road signs, road conditions, individuals in other vehicles, and other factors that may have contributed to the accident.
As much as we like to think that investigations would be fair and thorough, your Los Angeles Personal Injury Lawyer knows that conducting your own and getting more evidence is the best way to go.
Step 7: Take note of all you remember about the accident.
Many cases might take weeks, if not months, to resolve. In addition, it's possible that remembering the details will become tricky later on. So, as mentioned earlier, record the details while it's still fresh in your memory.
Write it down in a notebook or save it in a text file for later access. You should be able to describe what happens before, during, and after the crash.
These notes will also help you easily remember the crucial timelines when speaking to your best personal injury attorney in California. The more your attorney knows about what went down in the incident, the easier it is for them to do their investigations, find evidence, track witnesses, and help you through the entire process of your Personal Injury claim.
Step 8: Get a copy of the accident report.
A report of the accident will be released if the police or sheriff's department comes to the scene. You can go to the police department yourself to ask for a copy. Once you've obtained the report, check for any factual inaccuracies or omissions.
If you hire a personal injury lawyer in Los Angeles, they would also be able to get it for you.
Step 9: Speak with an experienced auto accident attorney in California.
As we mentioned earlier, so many things complicate situations in car accidents. Not only have you just been in a potentially dangerous situation, but you also have to consider the medical expenses, emotional recovery, insurance payouts, missed work, lost wages, lost capacity to work, and possible permanent physical disabilities.
These are complicated scenarios that need time and money and involve a lot of communication and negotiation with so many people and agencies. So don't hesitate to contact a Top Rated Personal Injury Attorneys In Los Angeles in your area immediately.
What Not to Do After a Car Accident In California
Do not panic, become aggressive, or engage in a verbal or physical altercation with anyone. These activities will add to the complexity of the situation, and some of them may result in penalties and jail time. Instead, maintain as calm as you can.
Although you will exchange basic insurance information with other drivers involved, you should not provide any specific data about your policy—such as the amount of coverage you have or your deductibles—and you should not reveal lien holders.
Law enforcement will want to conduct one-on-one interviews with persons who were involved in the collision. This is significant since it is the only way to obtain a complete picture of what occurred. Make no attempt to interfere with their interview. They are the ones in charge.
If paramedics arrive, you have the option of being treated, and if your injuries are significant, you should consent to treatment and transport to the hospital.
Never sign a statement claiming you have not been wounded, even if you do not believe your injuries are severe or if you do not appear to be hurt at the time. You should seek medical attention as soon as possible if you experience pain or suffer a significant injury.
Important Caveat: Why You Shouldn't Directly Negotiate With Insurance Firms Yourself
Representatives from your insurance company or the at-fault party's insurance company may contact you upon notification of your accident.
If you don't say anything to them, it's best. If you happen to have misspoken or misremembered some details of the incident, it could be distorted to make it appear as if you were at fault or that your injuries are trivial. They might even try to persuade you to accept a settlement that is significantly less than what you deserve.
You should remember that insurance firms, first and foremost, are looking to profit. Therefore, it is in the best interest of their company to give you the least minimum payout possible—sometimes even to a point where it is no longer equivalent to the injuries, losses, and expenses you've incurred due to the accident.
Here are a few underhanded tactics they might try:
Insurance companies may employ stalling tactics. This could include claiming they're getting swamped with other requests. They might tell you about having to deal with multiple cases and requests and ask you to wait patiently for a response to your damages claim or a settlement offer. This is frequently used as a pretext to avoid paying hospital costs and monthly expenditures like vehicle payments and rent. The more bills and debtor calls you to have to deal with, the more desperate you'll feel. Insurance companies prefer that you are in a desperate condition.
They'll give you a low settlement offer. They will wait until you are desperate enough to accept any settlement offer they give. When you're unable to function due to thousands of dollars in monthly bills, any "lowball" offer can appear enticing. An expert prosecutor will recognize these delay techniques and lowball bargains, and will challenge the insurance company's bad faith activities. When an attorney for a car accident threatens to take the case to court, insurance companies will begin to respond much more rapidly.
Blame is shifted unto you. They do this to either persuade you to dismiss your argument or to accept responsibility for an automobile accident. Don't be fooled by it. They may examine your driving record and conclude that you are a dangerous driver. They might be able to obtain medical records that show you've been in a previous car accident. All of these are unsubstantiated assertions that a lawyer on your side can simply counter.
Your statements are being used against you. Another strategy is to call you right after an accident to see how you're doing. A representative from the insurance company has requested a written statement from you. Don't make a remark to anyone. Politely decline. Insurance brokers are looking for something you'll say that they can use to distort your version of events in the future. Instead, allow your personal injury lawyer to handle all correspondence on your behalf. It calms you down and protects you from danger.
An experienced California Personal Injury Attorney will take into account current and future medical costs, lost earnings, and other expenses to guarantee you receive the compensation you require to cover the full cost of your accident.