Steps to Take Following a Car Accident and What Never to Do

Disabled crippled man sits in his wheelchair in front of his home in the grass.
Disabled crippled man sits in his wheelchair in front of his home in the grass.

Car accidents are never planned they are an unexpected event that can happen anywhere on the roadway in crowded cities like San Francisco, Los Angeles, Santa Ana or other Southern California locations. Even a minor fender bender can result in the driver being hurt and an emotional wreck. we asked attorney Michael Ehline of Ehline Law Firm PC to come up with some ideas for a checklist, and this is what he came up with for us.

First, it goes without saying that it is crucial to know what to do after being involved in a traffic mishap. Knowing the following tips to take after a car accident, can be a tremendous advantage after being involved in a car collision insofar as protecting your legal rights are concerned, when negligence of another person is also a factor in the causing of the incident.

  • Moving out of Traffic: When the accident is not serious and the vehicles are able to be moved, pull the vehicles over in a safe area to get out of traffic. Make certain to stop after even a minor collision, since not stopping can result in charges of leaving the scene of an accident and criminal prosecution. When injuries occur or the vehicle is not able to be moved out of traffic, then the occupants including the driver should remain in the vehicle ant call authorities immediately.
  • Call Police: Even if a collision is minor the police should be called in order to file an accident report. This report is vital in a personal injury claim, whether negotiating with the insurance company or taking the case to court. One thing about motor vehicle accidents, even minor ones there are some injuries and damages that are not immediately apparent. In some cases it can take days or weeks before all the harm done in an accident is clear. The police report can provide information that is official including the drivers involved and any witnesses that may have witnessed the crash.
  • Exchanging Information: When possible, if the injuries are not serious the drivers should exchange information. The information after a vehicle crash should include the driver’s name, address, telephone numbers, license number, plate number, registration information and insurance information. If injuries prevent obtaining this information they can be obtained by the police in the accident report that has been filed.
  • Medical Attention: After a traffic mishap if there are injuries, even in incidences of minor crashes the individuals should seek medical attention. Not all injuries are able to be seen or immediately apparent. This should be done immediately, without delay and the injuries must be documented in order to prove a personal injury case when the other driver was careless or reckless and responsible for the harm caused.
  • Never Admit Fault: Do not ever admit fault to the other driver, the police at the scene of the crash or the insurance company. This is something that should be discussed with a personal injury attorney, who will be able to evaluate the factors involved in the mishap and determine your percentage of fault. It may be still possible to file a personal injury claim even when partially at fault in a collision.
  • Consult a Personal Injury Lawyer: After being involved in an auto accident consulting a reputable attorney can ensure being treated fairly by the insurance company, having your rights protected and taking the case in front of a judge and jury if necessary to obtain the recovery of damages you deserve.

Many law firms will offer a free consultation to evaluate your claim and advise you of your legal rights to hold the careless or reckless driver responsible for the injuries and other damages related to the vehicle accident. Contact a law firm to learn your legal options.

Other Resources:

HOW CAN I FIND AND HIRE THE RIGHT LAWYER? (California State Bar Website)


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