What Should I Do After A Car Accident to Protect Myself?

If you are in a car accident there are important steps to take to protect yourself and your property adequately and to document the accident.  Our car accident lawyers provide a guide on important steps to take after an accident.

Primarily, you should evaluate whether you are injured as a result of the car accident. If you are injured, and need assistance call 9-1-1 immediately.

If it is safe to do so, move the vehicle out of the roadway or get out of the vehicle and relocate yourself and your passengers to a safe place out of the roadway.

Once everyone is safe, below are critical steps you should take relating to protecting your rights after a car accident.

1)      Report the Accident:  You should contact the police immediately to report the accident so that an official police relating to the accident is on record.  This is an important step so that a police officer can assist in documenting how the car accident occurred and record each driver’s information.  Additionally, you and the other driver involved in the accident must report the accident to the California Department of Motor Vehicles if the accident caused more than $750 in property damage or injury or death to a person involved in the auto accident.

2)      Take Photographs:  If you can do so safely, take photographs of your vehicle, the other driver’s vehicle, where the cars are in relation to each other, the other driver’s license plate and their insurance information.

3)      Collect Important Information:  Make sure to collect information from witnesses to the accident, the other driver’s information (name, address, phone number) and insurance information.  Collecting this information after a car accident can help you more smoothly process your claim and/or establish fault of the other driver.

4)      Notify Your Insurance Company:  Take the appropriate measures to notify your insurance company as soon as possible after the accident.  This can help alleviate out of pocket expenses after a car accident, such as obtaining a rental car.

5)      Don’t Provide a Recorded Statement to An Insurance Company:  Be careful in providing a recorded statement to an insurance company immediately after an accident. You are not required to give an official statement and you should consult a car accident lawyer first.  This is a mistake that can compromise the value of your claim.

6)      Don’t Discuss Fault:  Do not admitting or discuss fault after an accident. Volunteering information relating to fault may limit your rights.  You should be fair to yourself as this accident may not have been your fault. Therefore, be careful what you say.

7)      Get a Checkup after a Car Accident:  If you have been involved in an auto accident it may be a good idea for you and your passengers to get a checkup so that you can determine if you are injured.  In some instances it may take a day or two after an accident for symptoms to manifest themselves.

8)      Consult a California Car Accident Lawyer:  If you have been injured in a car accident you should consult an attorney experienced in auto accidents and personal injury cases.  Our firm provides free consultations to those injured in a car accident in Southern California.  You can contact our San Diego office at 619-512-5995 or Riverside office at 951-200-4630.

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