Nobody tells us in schools or colleges about what to do after a car accident. But they definitely should.
After all, a car crash is one of the most stressful and life-threatening situations you can be in your life. And the risk of getting into one is extremely high, as motor vehicle accidents are the leading cause of injuries in our country.
Fact: between 80 and 100 Americans die in car accidents every single day.
But our Los Angeles auto accident attorney at Compass Law Group, PC has got you covered with this handy step-by-step guide on what to do after a car accident to do everything correctly from the legal standpoint and maximize your compensation as a result.
Step 1: make sure all parties involved in the car accident are safe and have received medical care (if required). If you’ve been injured, seeking medical attention is critical. Without it, you may have trouble proving that your injuries are stemming from this particular accident later on.
Step 2: turn off the ignition, and make sure all other parties involved in the car accident have done the same. This will reduce the risk of vehicles bursting into flames in case of fuel leak.
Step 3: to prevent further injuries (or even fatalities), stay away from the vehicles involved in the car wreck and encourage other drivers to do the same. There could be leaked fuel and other combustibles, which could lead to explosions and fires even after a collision.
Step 4: call the police and wait for their arrival. Do NOT confront other motorists or speak to them before the cops arrive, unless you are exchanging information such as insurance policy, phone number, names, etc.
Step 5: when the police has arrived, maintain your cool and describe what has happened. You’re doing this to help them write a police report, which will later be used as part of an investigation to determine liability and assess your car accident claim for compensation.
Step 6: in NO way should you admit your fault at the scene of the car crash either to police officers or other parties involved in the accident. Avoid making any assumptions or comments that make you look guilty. Before an experienced car accident attorney has determined fault, there’s no way to know who is to blame for the motor vehicle accident.
Step 7: write your own notes about the car accident – anything that you would consider relevant to helping you maximize your compensation (the driver was violent, or that you saw him texting prior to the crash, etc.). Every tiny detail matters!
Step 8: take photographs and videos. In particular, take photos of the skid marks, car wreckage and debris from different angles. Also, it would be a good idea to take photos of your injuries (a bleeding leg, blood on the steering wheel, etc.).
Step 9: make sure you receive medical attention if you’re injured and get a medical report describing your injuries.
Step 10: take down all relevant information about the other driver(s) such as license plate number, the motorist’s name, phone number, insurance policy info, address, vehicle model, color, etc.
Step 11: exchange contact information with all witnesses at the scene of the crash (if there are any). Witnesses play a major role when it comes to determining fault.
Step 12: while this is the step when the vast majority of motorists call their insurance company to report the car crash, don’t do it just yet. Prior to contacting your insurer, get a free consultation from our best car accident attorneys in Los Angeles to know what’s your best course of action.
Speaking to your insurance company without (a) having NO viable plan in mind to get maximum compensation for your injuries and damages and (b) having NO real assessment of your injuries and damages will significantly reduce the value of your car accident claim.