| Read Time: 4 minutes | Car Accidents
what to do after a car accident

Los Angeles is infamous for having poor, aggressive drivers. Unfortunately, statistics confirm this reputation. According to California traffic data, almost 100,000 people suffered injuries in car accidents in Los Angeles County in 2019. Given these numbers, it’s entirely possible that you could find yourself in an automobile accident. 

In a car accident, you must think clearly and act quickly. Reviewing what to do in advance is vital for protecting your rights. That’s why we’ve created this piece on what to do after a car accident. We’ll discuss essential follow-up tasks to complete after a car accident and what you should not do after a car accident. If you have more questions, contact a qualified car accident lawyer in Los Angeles today. 

What to Do Immediately After a Car Accident

You’re driving home from work on the highway one night. Suddenly, another vehicle slams into your car. What are your next steps?

1. Ensure Safety for You and Your Passengers

Your safety should always be your first consideration. It’s crucial to get you and your car to a safe location immediately. If you’re on a highway, this means pulling over to the shoulder or taking the nearest exit. Never stay in the middle of the road or highway. Doing so puts you at risk and also endangers others.

2. Don’t Leave

You may be tempted to rush home or get to the hospital in the initial chaos after the accident. However, you must stay at the scene of the accident. Leaving the scene of a car accident is a significant legal violation in California. It can land you in prison for up to six months. Consequently, only go as far away from the accident scene as necessary to escape immediate danger.

3. Provide Reasonable Assistance

Under California law, every party to a car accident has to provide reasonable assistance to the other parties. You don’t need to do anything extravagant. Just be willing to call for emergency services and provide basic, common-sense help to injured individuals. 

4. Exchange Essential Information

Exchange pertinent information with the other parties to the accident. Essential information includes your name, address, vehicle registration number, and driver’s license number. Make sure you also obtain and verify the other party’s information. Getting accurate and complete information is crucial for subsequent legal or insurance processes.

5. Notify Law Enforcement

It’s always a good idea to call the police after an accident. You’ll obtain a police report that accurately documents the details of the accident. California law requires you to contact the California Highway Patrol if the accident leads to any injuries or death. You can also contact the Los Angeles Police Department.

6. Document the Accident Thoroughly

Once you’ve completed these steps, begin documenting the accident. Take pictures of the accident and all involved vehicles. Photograph any road issues or unique hazards like construction zones. Check whether you or anyone else has dash cam footage of the accident. Capture any unusual weather or environmental conditions. Finally, get the contact information of any witnesses before they leave the scene. Proper documentation enhances the integrity of your account of the event. It will also be pivotal for dealing with your insurance company and prevailing in a lawsuit.

7. Consult with Experts

Even if you feel fine after the accident, you should check into an urgent care for a medical examination. Having medical records right after the accident can help treat side effects later. Finally, consult an attorney, especially if unsure what to do next. 

What Not to Do After a Car Accident

Knowing what not to do after an accident is as important as knowing what actions to take. Here are a few measures you should always avoid.

1. Admitting Fault Prematurely

You may feel the temptation to admit fault at the scene because of politeness or confusion. However, don’t do it. For one, it may lead to serious legal consequences down the road. Second, determining fault is usually a complex process requiring complete knowledge of the facts. You won’t have this information right after the accident. 

2. Not Reporting the Accident to Your Insurance Company

Many people hesitate to report an accident to their insurance company, especially if they believe they are at fault or the accident seems minor. Nonetheless, failing to report can violate your insurance policy terms. If you make a claim later, it can also lead to complications or a denial of coverage.

3. Quickly Settling with Insurance Companies

It’s common for insurance companies to try to get people to settle right after the accident. Adjusters often present themselves as generous, efficient individuals who want to help. While that may sometimes be true, insurance companies almost always try to lowball accident victims. They hope you won’t understand the true extent of damages and injuries. Before you settle anything with your insurance company, contact a car accident attorney to get an accurate idea of your losses. 

Let Peerali Law Be Your Defender After a Los Angeles Car Accident

As the old saying goes, “Forewarned is forearmed.” Thus, knowing what to do after an accident is the first step in preparing for an unfortunate situation. Yet, car accidents are often complicated. Various groups frequently try to trample on your rights or manipulate you out of what you deserve. Protect yourself by consulting with a Los Angeles car accident attorney. 

Here at Peerali Law, we pride ourselves on thinking outside the box for our clients. We go to great lengths to deliver outstanding legal representation to our clients. We also believe that passion, innovation, and persistence are the best ingredients for a successful outcome. Our philosophy has led to outstanding results for our clients. We’ve also garnered countless five-star reviews online. 

Take action to defend your rights after a car accident. Contact us today online or by phone for a free consultation. We look forward to partnering with you and meeting your legal needs. 

Author Photo

Kristopher earned his J.D. at the University of Southern California Gould School of Law where he was a member of the Review of Law and Social Justice honors law journal and was awarded several scholastic honors.

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