While no one ever plans on being in a car accident, car crashes occur nearly every minute of the day. Because automobile accidents are unpredictable and happen so quickly, most people don’t know what they should do when they are involved in car wreck. Damages and injuries can be severe, and crucial evidence can vanish quickly, so it is important to know what steps to take after an automobile accident.
To help protect you and to make sure you are prepared in the event of an accident, the legal team at West Coast Trial Lawyers has outlined seven important steps to take after an accident:
- Make Sure Everyone is Okay. The first thing you should do after an auto accident is to make sure that you and your passengers are okay. If anyone is injured, call 911 to request an ambulance.
- Call the Police. Even if no one appears to be injured and you believe the damages are minor, you should call the police so they can make an official report of the accident. Some law enforcement agencies will not take a report if no one is injured, so you should make sure to communicate your injuries to the officers who respond to the accident.
- Exchange Information with Other Drivers. Make sure that you get the names, addresses, phone numbers, driver’s license numbers and insurance information for all parties involved in the accident. You should also write down the make, model, year, color, and license plate number of all vehicles. The easiest and fastest way to accomplish this is to take pictures with your cell phone.
- Get Contact Information from Witnesses. Talk with witnesses and write down their names and phone numbers because you may need to get in touch with them in the future.
- Be Careful What You Say. While you may be flustered or angry, it is important to watch what you say after a car accident. You should never apologize for the accident or admit or claim anything. Statements you make at the scene of an accident can be used against you and may hurt your case later on.
- Take Pictures. Take pictures of the damage to all vehicles involved in the accident, as well as the road conditions and traffic signs and signals. If you don’t have access to a cell phone or camera, make sure that you take photographs of your car and the accident scene as soon as possible after the accident.
- Contact a Lawyer. After an accident, it is important to get in touch with an attorney experienced in handling car accident claims even before you report the accident to your insurance company. Additionally, you should consult with your attorney before making any statements to the other driver’s insurance company. Accident victims often make the mistake of discussing their case with an insurance company before they have spoken with qualified legal counsel. An experienced Los Angeles car accident lawyer can protect your rights and help you take the right steps to obtain the financial compensation you deserve.