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
#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
#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
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
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.