What to Do When You are in a California Auto Accident
When you are involved in a vehicle collision in California, there are several steps that you should take to in order to protect yourself, take care of your injuries, and preserve the maximum potential value of your personal injury claim. The following list has been prepared by the auto accident attorneys at San Diego’s Traffic Accident Law Center to help you know what to do at the scene of an accident.
Obtain the Other Driver’s Insurance Information
You should obtain insurance information from all other drivers involved in the accident. Not only will this make it much easier to start the process with your personal injury claim, but as a practical matter remembering to do this will also help ensure that you (or your attorney) are able to identify all of the responsible parties at the scene of the accident.
The old adage that a picture tells a thousand words is very true. Either with your cell phone, Smartphone or standalone camera, you should take numerous pictures of the accident and surroundings. Some of the key photos you should take include:
- The location of the accident
- How the vehicles came to rest
- License plates and VIN numbers
- Skid marks
- Vehicle damage
Call the Police or California Highway Patrol (CHP)
While the police often will not come unless someone reports an injury or the need for an ambulance, it is still important to make the call. If an officer does come to the scene of the accident, follow his or her instructions, but do not volunteer any information that may suggest that you might have been at fault. The truth of the matter is that fault is a complex legal issue that experienced personal injury attorneys disagree over all the time, and you simply are not qualified to judge your own potential liability—especially when you have just gone through a traumatic experience.
People often become angry or distraught following an accident. However, the better course of action is to stay calm, gather the information you need for your claim, and then do what you need to do to go on about your day. This will give you the best chance to obtain a favorable result for your personal injury claim.
If You Think You are Injured, Say So
Out of habit or unease, you may feel compelled to respond that you are “fine” or “okay” when asked if you are injured following a vehicle collision. However, if you think you may be injured, it is important to say so. Not only will this help with your claim for compensation, but it will also help ensure that you receive the necessary medical treatment to get better and avoid any additional or long-term implications.
Get Medical Care & Treatment
Compensation claims are analyzed based on the types of injuries diagnosed by healthcare professionals and the treatments needed to cure or manage these diagnoses. Further, oftentimes injuries will not be felt until several days following the accident. For these reasons, it is absolutely essential that you seek prompt medical attention after being involved in any vehicle collision.
Contact the Traffic Accident Law Center
For more information about what to do after you’ve been involved in a California vehicle collision, contact the Traffic Accident Law Center. Our staff members and personal injury attorneys are available to help you deal with the insurance companies; get treatment for your injuries; and seek compensation for your lost wages, medical bills and other expenses. Our attorneys have more than twenty-five years of combined experience, and you pay nothing unless we win a recovery for your claim.