A car accident is never fun, but knowing what to do if you’re ever in an accident makes the whole process easier. This is especially important when your accident was caused by someone else, but regardless, you should know how California state laws apply when accidents happen. Arm yourself with this information now, before an accident happens, and you’ll be ready.
First things first
No matter who is at fault or how the accident happened, the first move is always to check on everyone involved. Even if you didn’t cause the crash, it’s a good idea to stick around. If anyone was injured or killed, the law requires all drivers involved to stay at the scene.
If you’re injured, don’t try to move. If you’re not, or if your injuries are minor, check on any passengers in your car and any passengers in any other cars. If anyone is hurt, be sure to call for medical help before you do anything else. Also, call for help if the scene is dangerous; for example, if fuel is leaking or power lines are knocked down.
Getting legal help
Once all emergencies and medical needs are taken care of, be sure to get as much information as possible. Take photographs of the scene if you’re physically able to do so. If anyone witnessed the accident, get their names and contact information. Ask if they would be willing to testify to what they saw.
Be sure to tell the insurance company and the police only the facts. If you get a call from the other driver’s insurance company, don’t speak with them directly. Call a car accident lawyer in Irvine just as soon as it is safe to do so. It’s always best to let your lawyer talk to the insurance companies.
Some insurance companies are excellent, but others may try to claim that their coverage doesn’t apply, or find a way to say that you were at fault or not as badly hurt as you claim. The best way to deal with these companies is to leave it to your lawyer. An experienced lawyer knows just how to deal with these situations.
Getting medical help after the fact
In the first adrenaline rush after a car accident, it’s not uncommon for people to think they haven’t been hurt or that their injuries are not all that severe. That’s what adrenaline is for: it helps us get away or fight back in the event we’ve been injured.
In some situations, it’s very clear you need medical help. But it’s also possible that in some types of accidents, you won’t realize how badly you’re injured until later on. This is why you should never tell another driver or an insurance company that you’re “fine”. It’s also why you should get a check-up even if you think you aren’t hurt.
Dealing with a minor accident
If the accident isn’t all that serious, there wasn’t much damage, and no one was hurt, it’s not necessary to call 911 or the police. You must still exchange information with any other drivers.
Once that’s done, you can leave the scene. However, you are required by California law to report the accident within ten days under certain circumstances. It’s also smart to talk to your car accident lawyer and make sure you’re covered.
If you’re injured because of someone else’s negligent driving, check on everyone involved, call for medical help if needed, exchange information and get evidence, and make sure you call for legal help. Doing all this after an accident is the best way to safeguard your rights and ensure a good outcome.