Steps to Take After a Car Accident in Southern California

January 11, 2024 Car Accident

A car accident is a traumatic experience with the terror of losing control, the force of the crash, and the sound of crushing metal and glass—all memories most car accident injury victims in Southern California never forget. When a crash victim suffers painful injuries or has injured family members, it’s even more devastating. It can be difficult to keep a cool head during the traumatic aftermath of a car accident, but when it comes to protecting yourself and your family, keeping calm and following specific steps can help prevent a bad situation from becoming worse.

Accidents quickly become expensive as well as alarming, when medical bills come in at the same time you may be unable to return to work. It’s important to know what to do after a car accident in Southern California, where the state’s fault-based insurance system requires accident victims to prove liability on the part of a negligent driver to pay out the compensation on a claim.

Car accident

Steps to Take at the Scene of a Car Accident in California

During the moments after an accident, you may be too seriously injured to be able to move safely or do anything to help yourself or others; however, if you can use your cell phone, you can call for help and document critical evidence at the scene while you wait. Because law enforcement prioritizes clearing accident scenes to restore the flow of traffic, evidence often disappears forever. By using your cell phone—or handing it to an uninjured person to use for you—you preserve the evidence at the scene. A phone becomes a tool to do the following:

  • First, call 911 to report the accident and request emergency services. Apply any emergency first aid to yourself or anyone seriously injured
  • Then, take photos of the damaged vehicles
  • Take photos and/or video of the entire accident scene, including anything relevant such as skid marks, an intersection, signs, or a traffic signal
  • Add the contact information of the other driver or drivers
  • Add the contact information of eyewitnesses (eyewitnesses can provide critical testimony in cases where no traffic camera videos exist but eyewitnesses often leave the scene without leaving a name)
  • Record a statement of what you remember about the accident while it’s fresh in your mind

Always go the the hospital immediately after a car accident in California. It’s best to ride with the paramedics to receive stabilizing treatment on the way, but if your injuries seem minor, it’s still critical to arrange transportation to a hospital as soon as you are free to leave the scene.

Steps to Take in the Days After a Southern California Car Accident

By going to the hospital immediately after the accident, you document clear evidence that your injuries occurred in the car accident and nowhere else. At the hospital and in the days to follow, take the following steps:

  • Ask the doctor for a full medical evaluation rather than simply treating any obvious injuries
  • Tell the doctor about even the most minor symptoms in case the injury worsens later
  • Obtain a detailed medical report listing your injuries, the doctor’s recommendations for treating the injuries, and your medical prognosis
  • Request a copy of the police report
  • Save all medical bills and receipts for related expenses
  • Follow your doctor’s instructions carefully
  • Document your daily pain level and injury-related care
  • Gather your evidence and call for a consultation with a car accident attorney in Southern California

You should always hire an Encino car accident attorney to protect your rights and best interests in fault-based insurance states like California. Then, direct all communication with the insurance companies to your lawyer.

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