Car accidents are a daily occurrence on California’s many busy roads and highways. Anyone who has been involved in a car accident knows it can be a terrifying experience, with victims experiencing physical, mental and emotional trauma, sometimes for the rest of their lives.
Victims who sustain serious injuries from a car accident will also likely encounter financial difficulties, whether from medical bills, lost wages or the loss of a job. If the other driver was negligent, compensation for these damages may be available. However, negligence must be proven, and taking the following steps after a car accident may help with building a case.
The less you say, the better
The first thing to do is try to stay calm, and do not argue with the other driver, or try to place the blame on them. Do not place the blame on yourself either, as any statements you make could be used against you later. Even something like saying you are sorry could be seen as taking the blame for the accident, even if it was not your fault, reducing your chance of compensation.
Assess the accident scene and call 911 if anyone appears injured. Call the police, as well, and ask them for a copy of any report they file. Speak to the other driver only to ask for their name, contact information, vehicle information and insurance information. Since cell phone cameras are so prevalent today, take pictures of any damage to yourself or the vehicles.
Report the accident to necessary parties
Once you’ve treated any injuries and are back home, inform your insurance company of the accident. If you or anyone else has been injured, or if any vehicle damages are determined to be over $750.00, a report of the accident must be made to the Department of Motor Vehicles within 10 days.
After you’ve contacted your insurance company and gathered any documentation and pictures, it may be helpful to talk to a personal injury attorney. Knowing how to prove negligence is essential.