what to do after a car accident injury

Car accidents can be distressing and disorienting. Knowing the right steps to take immediately after a crash can significantly impact recovery for accident victims and any potential legal actions you might pursue.

 

This guide will provide you with clear, actionable steps to follow after a car accident Orange County, ensuring you are well-informed about your rights and the best course of action.

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1. Ensure Safety First

The first priority after a car crash is safety. Check yourself and any passengers for injuries. If it’s safe to do so, move your vehicle out of traffic to prevent further collisions. Turn on your hazard lights to alert other drivers.

Immediate Steps to Take:

  • Check for Injuries: Assess yourself and your passengers. Call 911 immediately if anyone is injured.
  • Move to Safety: If possible, move your vehicle to the side of the road. If the car is inoperable, stay inside with your seatbelt fastened until help arrives.
  • Alert Other Drivers: Use hazard lights, flares, or warning triangles to make your vehicle visible to other drivers.

2. Call the Authorities

If you were involved in a car accident (especially one that wasn’t your fault), you must report any injury, death, or significant property damage. Even if the collision seems minor, having a traffic collision report (file a SR-1 form) can be valuable for car insurance claims and any potential legal action.

What to Do:

  • Call 911: Inform the dispatcher about the collision, your location, and if there are any injuries.
  • Provide Information: When the police arrive, provide them with an accurate account of what happened. Avoid admitting fault or making speculative statements.
  • Obtain a Report Number: Ask for the police report number and the officer’s contact information.

3. Collect Evidence

Gathering evidence at the scene of the accident can be critical for injury claims and any future legal process. This includes taking photos, getting witness statements, and exchanging information with the other driver.

Steps to Collect Evidence:

  • Photograph the Scene: Take clear pictures of the damage to all vehicles, the accident location, and any visible injuries.
  • Gather Witness Information: If there are any witnesses, ask for their names and contact information.
  • Exchange Details: Get the other driver’s name, address, phone number, insurance details, and vehicle information.

4. Seek Medical Attention

Even if you feel fine, see a doctor after a motor vehicle accident. This should actually be primary on your list of what to do after a car accident injury. Some bodily injuries, like whiplash, traumatic brain injury, spinal cord injuries, or internal damage, may not be immediately apparent and can only manifest if you’re checked by a healthcare professional or undergo tests.

Medical Steps to Take:

  • Visit a Doctor: Schedule a medical examination as soon as possible after the accident.
  • Document Your Injuries: Keep detailed records of your medical visits, diagnoses, and treatments.
  • Follow Up: Adhere to any treatment plans or follow-up appointments recommended by your healthcare provider.

5. Contact a Lawyer

Before speaking with your insurance company, consult with an experienced Orange County car accident lawyer. An experienced attorney can guide you through your injury case, ensuring you receive fair compensation for your pain and losses.

Why Contact a Lawyer First:

  • Protect Your Rights: An auto accident attorney can help you understand your rights and the best course of action after a car accident Orange County.
  • Maximize Compensation: Lawyers can negotiate with insurance companies on your behalf to ensure you get the true value of your car accident case, especially if you had suffered serious injuries
  • Handle Legal Procedures: They can handle all the legal paperwork and procedures, allowing you to focus on recovery.

6. Report the Accident to Your Insurance Company

After consulting with your injury lawyer, report the accident to your insurance company. Provide them with the necessary information and any documentation your attorney advises you to share.

How to Report a California Car Accident:

  • Contact Your Insurer: Call your insurance company and inform them about the accident.
  • Provide Necessary Information: Share the details of the accident, the other driver’s information, and the police report number.
  • Follow Your Lawyer’s Advice: Only provide information that your Orange County car accident attorney has approved.

7. Keep Detailed Records

Maintaining thorough records of all aspects following a car accident can be invaluable for your case. This includes medical bills, repair estimates, and correspondence with insurance companies.

What to Record:

  • Medical Records: Keep copies of all medical reports, bills, and treatment plans.
  • Repair Estimates: Save all estimates and receipts for vehicle repairs.
  • Communication Logs: Document all communications with your insurance company and other involved parties.

8. Understand California’s Car Accident Laws

What to do after a car accident injury Orange County? Familiarize yourself with the laws specific to car accidents in California, as they can influence your case and compensation.

Key Points:

  • Comparative Fault: California follows a comparative fault rule, meaning you can still recover damages even if you are partially at fault, though your compensation may be reduced.
  • Statute of Limitations: You have two years from the date of the accident to file a personal injury claim for a car accident Orange County.
  • Insurance Requirements: California law requires drivers to carry minimum liability insurance coverage.

What To Do After a Car Accident Injury Orange County: Do’s and Don’ts

what to do after a car accident injury in orange county

Do’s:

  • Do Stay Calm: Keeping a clear head will help you manage the situation more effectively.
  • Do Call the Police: Even for minor accidents, a police report can be beneficial.
  • Do Seek Medical Attention: Prioritize your health and get checked by a doctor.
  • Do Consult a Lawyer: Protect your interests by getting legal advice early.
  • Do Keep Records: Document everything related to the accident.

Don’ts:

  • Don’t Admit Fault: Avoid making statements that could be interpreted as admitting fault.
  • Don’t Leave the Scene: Stay at the scene of the accident until it’s appropriate to leave.
  • Don’t Delay Medical Treatment: Prompt medical attention is critical for your health and your case.
  • Don’t Accept Initial Offers: Initial settlement offers from insurance companies may not reflect the true value of your claim.
  • Don’t Discuss Details Publicly: Avoid sharing details of your accident on social media or with people who don’t need to know.

Hurt in a Car Crash?
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What to do after a car accident injury in Orange County, and you’re not at fault?  Prioritize your safety, seek medical attention, and consult with a knowledgeable attorney to ensure your rights are protected.

 

RTM Law, APC | Personal Injury Attorney has experienced personal injury attorneys who help victims of accidents in Orange County and anywhere in California. We understand local auto accident regulations and are committed to fighting for the medical care you need and money you deserve.

 

Call our auto injury lawyers for a free case review.

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