The moments after any type of car accident are chaotic, stressful and confusing. When the unthinkable happens and you’re involved in a crash, whether a rear-end collision or T-bone accident, being prepared can mean all the difference in the world. The Los Angeles personal injury attorneys at Salamati Law want to empower California motorists with a few practical tips to help them through the trauma and uncertainty of a traffic accident.
What to do after an accident
If you are involved in a car accident in Los Angeles or anywhere in California, there are certain steps you can take to protect your legal rights and best interests. Even if you think you are partly at fault, it’s imperative to follow this guide or risk forfeiting your right to financial compensation through a car accident claim.
First and foremost, you can be prepared by carrying orange cones or warning triangles in your vehicle to alert oncoming cars of an accident scene, and prevent further risk of injury while vehicles are blocking the road.
10 steps to take after an auto accident
- Never leave the scene of an accident, even a minor one with no property damage or injuries
- Protect the accident scene by placing cones or triangles by the vehicle or turning on your hazard lights
- Do not attempt to move your vehicle unless instructed by law enforcement
- Check and see if anyone is injured and dial 911 for medical assistance. Keep accurate records of all hospital and medical treatment and expenses incurred
- Call the police and report the accident
- If possible, take photos or video of the accident scene and make clear, detailed notes about the moments leading up to the crash for future reference
- Collect personal information including names, addresses and contact data from any persons who witnessed the crash
- Get the names, address and contact info of any parties that were involved in the accident
- Note the insurance company policy number and phone number for other motorists involved
- Contact a reputable car accident attorney that specializes in personal injury claims and auto accident cases
Reporting an accident
As part of policy coverage, many insurance carriers require that motorists report accidents immediately. After the police have arrived, tell the investigating officer what transpired, but never speculate or misstate events if you are uncertain. Even more crucial, never admit partial or full responsibility, as this may be used against you in a court of law. You will be asked if you sustained any injuries, which in some cases may not become obvious until hours after the collision. Whiplash, concussions and soft tissue injuries stemming from motor vehicle accidents may take days or even weeks to become apparent. Even seemingly minor accident injuries can rack up massive medical bills that aren’t covered by insurance.
For this reason, it’s imperative to seek prompt medical attention and a full check-up after the accident has been reported. Maintain a log of all costs and expenses related to your car accident injuries and property damage, saving receipts, prescriptions and other essential information that can be used to help your claim.
Do I need a lawyer after a car accident?
Traffic accidents are not always cut and dry. Circumstances surrounding liability, uninsured motorists and involvement of alcohol or drugs can complicate matters further. A good lawyer will not only protect your legal rights in the event of serious injury or property damage, but also fight for fair compensation. A skilled legal advocate will gather and preserve vital evidence, speak with eyewitnesses, and handle all negotiations with insurance companies.
Insurance companies often ask customers to provide a statement or sign documents in the wake of an auto accident. Refrain from signing any forms or volunteering information until you have spoken with an attorney. Remember that adjustors work for the insurance company, not you, and their judgements may seriously undercut the value of your claim.
Known for his proven legal strategies and impressive track record of results, attorney Sean F. Salamati handles all types of car accident claims in the greater L.A. area. Injured because of someone else’s negligent driving? You may be entitled to compensation for hospital expenses, lost income, emotional trauma and other monetary damages. Partner with a results-oriented lawyer who leverages decades worth of experience: align yourself with Salamati Law.
Set up a free consultation and case review by calling 1-800-957-9898.
What to do in a car accident: resources
- State Farm, What to Do After a Car Accident https://www.statefarm.com/claims/resources/auto/what-to-do-after-auto-accident
- GEICO, What To Do If You Get Into An Accident https://www.geico.com/claims/after-an-accident/
- Esurance, car accidents: how to handle one in 7 easy steps https://www.esurance.com/info/car/how-to-handle-a-car-accident
- AA, What to do at the scene of an accident http://www.theaa.com/motoring_advice/legal-advice/accidents-and-theft.html