Every year, over 10 million vehicles are involved in motor vehicle accidents in the United States. About 55 percent of those crashes involve sedans and SUVs.
There is a high likelihood that you will be involved in a motor vehicle accident in your lifetime. It is essential to know what steps to take at the scene of the crash to protect yourself, your property, and your family.
Report the Accident
While the first call should be to first responders if there is an injury. If there isn’t an injury, then to the non-emergency police line for assistance with traffic or reporting of the collision. It is important to deal with your health and safety first. The next step should be documenting the scene and injuries. This includes taking pictures and possibly video of the location. The next step is to call your own insurance company to report the crash. Reporting the who, what, when, where, and why of the accident sooner when the information is fresh. This also helps ensure you have done everything you can to have all claims processed timely.
Prioritize Your Safety
Since most car accidents happen on roads, highways, and parking lots where other drivers continue to pass through, make sure you get yourself and any of your passengers to safety and away from ongoing traffic as quickly as possible. If you are in an area where you cannot safely exit the vehicle, get the vehicle to the side of the roadway, put your hazards on, and if it is safer to stay in your vehicle, make sure you keep your seatbelts buckled.
If your car accident happens on a long-distance road trip or out of state, there are a few additional things you should consider.
Take Photos and Video
While not necessary for any insurance claim, taking photos or even video of the damage and conditions when the accident occurred helps provide solid evidence for the primary insurance claim and also a personal injury lawyer that you may choose to consult.
Key photographs are those of the interior damage, exterior damage, location where the accident occurred, road conditions (both weather and physical), and any signage (speed limits, merge, lane closure, etc.).
We’re living in a time when nearly everyone has a smartphone with a built-in camera, so oftentimes your insurance company and attorney will ask for these to back up your story and help you make the strongest case possible.
Make a Statement
The police should send an officer to the scene of the accident after you’ve called it in and reported it. Stay at the or near the scene in a safe place to give a statement to the police about what happened. They will file a police report which will later be referenced by your insurance and your attorney.
Consult a Lawyer
Not every car accident will require a personal injury lawyer, but many do. Common reasons people choose to hire a personal injury lawyer after a motor vehicle accident are that friends, family, or a doctor suggests they speak with one, they’re unhappy with the insurance settlement and seek higher compensation, or the other driver(s) involved didn’t have insurance coverage.
Have you experienced a car accident on a road trip in California, and are unsure how to pursue legal action? Contact Gokal Law at 949-753-9100. Gokal Law Group is a family firm that treats our clients as if they were our own flesh and blood. We fight for our clients as we would our own children, sisters, brothers, and parents. We are our clients’ Warriors, fighting to bring them justice and right the wrongs they have endured.
Each attorney has a specific practice area for which they are tried, tested, and battle-ready. They have vast years of experience in their practice area, providing them the knowledge,
skills, and vision to fight and win. Learn more about Gokal Law Group.