More than 55,500 car accidents occurred on Los Angeles roadways in 2016. These accidents caused serious injures and damages to thousands of people of all ages. One person died from injuries sustained in a car accident every 40 hours the same year. The numbers of accidents in Los Angeles during other years is just as shocking as the 2016 figures. This shocking information puts accidents into a clear perspective for drivers who get behind the wheel of an automobile. The risks of getting involved in a car accident are very realistic, even when traveling short distances. Drivers should prepare for the unexpected every time they drive their cars.
Knowing how to respond after a car accident makes a difference in the outcome of the matter. Fear, uncertainty, and confusion often overwhelm those involved in car accidents as they’re unsure what to do after the event. Despite more than six million car accidents in the U.S. every year, it’s not every day we are personally involved. This leaves us unsure of the steps we should take after the accident occurs. Keep your cool by using the following tips if a car accident occurs.
1- Check for Danger: Safety is top-priority after a car accident. Assess the area after a crash. Do you smell smoke? Is the vehicle immobilized in traffic? Move the car out of dangerous areas when possible. Your first priority after the accident is preventing further injuries and damage and human safety!
2- Assess Injuries: Assess each person inside the vehicle for injuries. Call 9-1-1 if there are injuries. Next, turn off the car and turn on the hazard lights as you wait for emergency services. This alerts other drivers that an accident is ahead and can prevent further mishaps. Never leave the scene of an accident because you can be charged with leaving the scene of an accident.
3- Call the Police: If no one in the accident is hurt, call the police. You are required by law to file an accident report with the Los Angeles Police Department. You also need the accident report to file an insurance claim and perhaps even to keep you out of legal troubles. When the officer arrives, he’ll request your driver’s license and insurance, vehicle registration, and other information as needed. You may visit the police department for a copy of the final accident report.
4- Exchange Information: Exchange information with the other driver such as full name, address, telephone number, driver’s license number, insurance company, and policy number, and license plate numbers. If the other driver doesn’t want to provide this information, do not force an exchange, but wait for the police to provide you with the details instead.
5- Keep it Cool: Do not allow your emotions to take over after an accident. Keep your cool, do not blame the other driver, do not yell or act aggressively toward the other party. Everyone should allow the police and insurance company to handle the matter correctly!
6- Take Photographs: Some drivers take photographs of driver’s licenses, license plates, etc. Photographing the scene provides evidence in the case if it is needed later. Take photos of the crash scene, skid marks, vehicles, and other road hazards. Your phone camera will suffice for accident scene photographs. It is a good idea to take a couple of shots of each photograph to ensure quality.
7- Don’t Rely on Memory: Write down all the details about the crash as you remember. Important details like the date or time of day can easily be forgotten later down the road. If pen and paper are not available, use your phone to video record the information. You can also use the notes feature on the phone to jot down the details.
8- Contact the Insurance Company: Call the insurance company as soon as possible. Some drivers call the insurance company after they call the police while still at the scene of the accident. Insurance agents may take photographs of the scene, talk to witnesses, or otherwise move forward with the process if they come to the scene. The sooner you notify the insurance company, the sooner the claims process begins.
9- Contact a Car Accident Personal Injury Lawyer: Not every car accident is serious enough to involve a car accident personal injury lawyer, but many are. Contact a Los Angeles accident attorney if you are unhappy with the insurance company’s settlement offer, if you’ve suffered life-threatning injuries, or to otherwise learn the best steps to take in your case. The lawyer offers consultations at no cost. Use this time to ask questions and learn more about your case. You should not hesitate to file a lawsuit if it can help get your life back in order after the car accident turns it upside down.
Keep in mind that the California statute of limitations limits the amount of time you have to file a lawsuit after a car accident. It is important to reach out to a Los Angeles accident attorney as soon as possible to avoid this statute of limitations. Once the time has passed, you cannot file a lawsuit and become responsible for covering costs of your own injuries and damages. Reaching out to the auto injury lawyer quickly ensures no details are forgotten. You also get your life back on track faster when you reach out to an auto injury attorney as soon as possible.
A car accident is never an easy situation, even when you’ve been involved in a similar mishap. Each accident is unique and has a different outcome than the last, but you can still follow this general guideline to ensure the best outcome at the end of the day. Do not allow the aftermath of a car accident shatter your life more than the event itself following this simple outline reduces stress and worry after the event. Contact West Coast Trial Lawyers if you need an auto injury attorney that fights for your rights.