What You Should Do After a Serious Car Accident

Taking the Right Steps After an Auto Accident

First, following an accident, try to keep calm, stop and protect your passengers and car. Call an ambulance for any injured party, including yourself, if required. Set flares if you carry them and do not leave the scene of the accident. Exchange drivers’ licenses, registrations, and insurance identification cards. Do not discuss the accident with anyone or blame anyone, including yourself.

Take down the name, address, operator’s license number, date of birth, sex, state of license, insurance information and phone number of the other driver. Write down the names, addresses, and phone numbers of any people who saw the accident, but were not involved in it. Note the make, body type, year and license number of the other vehicle. Also make note of any damage.

#1: Give Aid to the Injured

If any person has been hurt, call an ambulance. Until help comes, do all you can to help the injured, but be careful. Unless you are proficient at rendering first aid, don’t try it. You may make matters worse instead of better. For example, moving an injured person may aggravate the injury.

#2: Call the Police

Policemen are trained to handle any situation that may result from or arise after an accident. If you are involved in an accident, even though you are not physically injured, you may suffer from shock and excitement which makes it difficult for you to think clearly at the time. Let the policeman take over when he arrives. He will handle any emergency and investigate the accident.

His report of investigation may be helpful to you later if you are sued or you decide to sue someone else. If the accident occurs within the limits of a city, village or town, call the municipal police. If it occurs on the open highway, call the state police station or the County Sheriff’s office.

#3: Obtain Protective Information

Just as the law requires you to give certain information, you are entitled to the same information from other persons involved in the accident. Do not fail to obtain this information. In addition to the names and addresses of the persons actually involved, make an effort to obtain the names and addresses of all persons who witnessed the accident. Witnesses may be important later if legal action becomes necessary. Also, if reasonable to do so:

  • Make notes of the important aspects of the collision to help you remember them
  • Diagram the exact position of the vehicles before and after the accident
  • Step off skid marks and other important distances

Such precautions may prove invaluable in the event that legal questions develop.

#4: File an Accident Report

Notify your automobile insurance company immediately and cooperate with your insurance representatives in their investigation. In addition, California law requires you to file a written report of any accident in which you were involved which resulted either in the death or injury to any person and in most accidents where property damage occurred.

Failure to file a report may cause you to lose your license. A report form may be obtained at any police station or sheriff’s office. The place where the report should be filed appears on the form. The filing of the report should be within ten days after the accident.

#5: See Your Doctor

If you have any doubt at all about your own condition or that of the passengers in your vehicle, see your doctor immediately for an examination and ask your passengers to do likewise.

#6: Call Scarlett Law Group

Considering the prevalence of automobile accidents, it is important that automobile drivers educate themselves about accidents and their legal options should such an accident occur. Where injury results from the negligent operation of a vehicle, the negligent operator should be held accountable for the consequences of their negligent acts.

Driving on highways, including California’s highways, can be a risky proposition. Whenever you’re in a vehicle there is a chance you will be involved in a traffic accident. Whether it’s a small fender-bender or a major accident, knowing in advance what to do can help you avoid costly mistakes.

If you or someone you know has been injured in a serious car crash, call (415) 688-2176 today to speak with a San Francisco personal injury attorney.

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