what to do after a car accident in california

Imagine this: you’re driving down a sunny California street, enjoying your day, when suddenly, you’re jolted by a collision. Motor vehicle accidents can happen to anyone, and knowing what to do immediately afterward can make a significant difference in protecting your rights and ensuring you receive financial compensation for damages.


This blog will talk about what to do after a car accident not your fault, and what your rights are in California.



California Car Accident Statistics

According to the California Office of Traffic Safety (OTS), there were over 3,500 fatal car crashes and more than 150,000 injury crashes in the state in the past year.


The cities with the highest accident rates include Los Angeles, San Francisco, and San Diego, primarily due to their dense traffic and high population. The OTS identifies several leading causes of car accidents in California:

  • Distracted Driving: Responsible for roughly 20% of all accidents, distracted driving includes activities such as texting, talking on the phone, and other distractions that take a driver’s attention away from the road.
  • Speeding: A factor in nearly 30% of crashes, speeding not only increases the likelihood of an accident but also exacerbates the severity of collisions.
  • Driving Under the Influence (DUI): DUI remains a significant issue, contributing to approximately 25% of fatal crashes. Alcohol and drug impairment drastically reduce a driver’s ability to operate a vehicle safely.
  • Weather Conditions: Adverse weather, such as rain and fog, plays a role in about 10% of accidents. These conditions can make roads slippery and reduce visibility, leading to higher accident rates.

What to Do After a Car Accident Not Your Fault

Victims of auto accidents often face a lot of stress and confusion in the moments after the incident. It is important to remain calm and follow these steps:

1. Ensure Safety First

Your first priority after a traffic accident should be to ensure the safety of everyone involved. If possible, move your vehicle to a safe location, such as the side of the road, to prevent further collisions. Turn on your hazard lights to alert other drivers.

2. Call Emergency Services

Immediately call the police and 911 to report the accident. This will summon both the police and medical assistance if needed. Even if the accident seems minor, it’s important to have an official police report, as this can be a crucial piece of evidence later on.

3. Seek Medical Attention

Even if you feel fine, you should get checked by a medical professional. Some injuries may not be immediately apparent but can manifest later. Medical records will also serve as vital evidence when filing your insurance claim.

4. Gather Information

What to do after a car accident in California? Collect as much information as possible at the scene of the accident. This includes:

  • Names, addresses, and contact information of all drivers and passengers involved.
  • Insurance information for all parties.
  • License numbers, plate numbers, and vehicle descriptions.
  • Names and contact information of any witnesses.
  • Take pictures of the accident scene, vehicle damage, and any visible injuries.

5. Avoid Giving Statements to Insurance Adjusters

After an accident, you may be contacted by insurance adjusters seeking statements. It’s crucial not to provide any statements or sign any documents until you have consulted with a car accident lawyer. Insurance agents may use your recorded statements to minimize the compensation you receive, so don’t say anything that might seem you admit fault.

6. Contact a California Personal Injury Attorney

One of the most important steps you can take after a car accident is to contact an experienced auto accident lawyer. An attorney can guide you through the process, protect your rights, and help you maximize your compensation. They will handle communications with insurance companies and gather necessary evidence to build a strong case on your behalf.

What To Do After a Car Accident in California: Recoverable Damages

Victims of car accidents in California may be entitled to various types of damages, including:

1. Medical Expenses

This includes all costs related to medical treatment for injuries sustained in the accident, such as hospital bills, surgery, medication, rehabilitation, and future medical expenses.

2. Lost Wages

If your injuries prevent you from working, you can claim compensation for lost wages. This includes both past and future income if your ability to work is affected long-term.

3. Property Damage

You can seek compensation for the repair or replacement of your vehicle and any other property damaged in the accident.

4. Pain and Suffering

This covers the physical pain and emotional distress caused by the accident. The amount varies depending on the severity of your injuries and the impact on your daily life.

5. Loss of Consortium

If the accident affects your relationship with your spouse, you may be entitled to compensation for loss of consortium, which covers the loss of companionship and support.

Potential Compensation Amounts for Victims of Auto Accidents in California

What to do after a car accident not your fault? You file a claim for compensation.


The amount you can recover after a collision varies widely. Factors that influence the monetary value include the severity of your injuries, the extent of property damage, the vehicles involved, and the degree of fault. Here are some general ranges to give you an idea:

  • Minor Injuries: $2,500 – $10,000
  • Moderate Injuries: $10,000 – $50,000
  • Severe Injuries: $50,000 – $100,000+
  • Catastrophic Injuries: $100,000 – $1,000,000+

Remember that these amounts are only estimates, and actual settlement can be higher or lower based on individual circumstances. An experienced attorney can provide a more accurate assessment of your car accident claim.

Know What to Do After a Car Accident in California.
Call RTM Law Firm for a Free Consultation.

If you’ve been involved in a car accident, take steps to protect your rights immediately. RTM Law Firm has a team of car accident lawyers ready to fight for you.


From gathering evidence to negotiating with insurance companies, we are committed to ensuring you receive the maximum compensation for your injuries and losses.


Your recovery and peace of mind are our top priorities.


Call our legal team today for a free case review.




    We Help Accident Victims File
    a Personal Injury Claim in California

    Our California personal injury attorneys handle a wide range of personal injury claims in several areas, including:

    ✔ Anaheim, CA
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    ✔ Buena Park, CA
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    ✔ Orange County, CA
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    ✔ San Bernardino, CA
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    ✔ San Diego, CA
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    ✔ Vista, CA
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