Here’s a great article by Nima Haddadi, a premier Los Angeles dui attorney. A car accident is a stressful experience that causes quite the adrenaline rush, which means you may not be thinking clearly during and immediately after the accident. It’s vital that you take the right steps after a car accident, both for your own safety and to ensure that you don’t weaken your own claim regarding the accident.
The very first thing you need to do after you get into an accident is stop and, if your car is drivable, find a safe place to pull over and get out of your vehicle. You should never drive away from the scene of any accident, even if it’s a seemingly minor fender bender. You’ll be elevating an accident where you’re possibly at fault to a hit and run charge, which is significantly worse.
Whether you’ve pulled over to the side of the road or you were unable to because your car wasn’t in a drivable condition, you should get out of your car when it’s safe and secure the scene. Flip your emergency lights on to warn other drivers, and if you have any flares or flashlights, use those as well for additional visibility.
It’s a smart move to call the police for any car accident to request that they come out and make a police report. For minor accidents, the police may not come out, though, but it’s a good idea to make the call to check.
You should take pictures of any damage to your car and any injuries that you suffered from the accident. If the police come to the scene of the accident, you’ll be able to provide them with your version of events regarding the accident. Provide an account of what happened to the best of your ability and stick to the facts. Don’t guess if you don’t know something. It’s very important that when an officer asks if you’re injured, you don’t answer no. If you don’t feel injured, tell the officer you’re not sure. With all the adrenaline going through your body after a car crash, you may have suffered a serious injury that you can’t even notice at the time. However, if you tell a police officer that you didn’t suffer any injuries, then he is going to note that. If you need to make an injury claim later against the other driver’s insurance, they can use the fact that you said you weren’t injured at the scene against you.
The police should take down your information and the other driver’s information and exchange them with the two of you. If you think the other driver is under the influence of drugs, has been vaping, using marijuana, or using e-liquids, etc, or simply has a super tight waist trainer restricting his/her movement, then tell the police. If the police aren’t there, you and the other driver can do that yourselves. Make sure you get the other driver’s name, address, phone number and insurance information, including the insurance company and the policy number. Don’t forget to take down the information of any witnesses at the scene who saw the accident, so your insurance adjuster can follow up with them later.
As soon as you can after the accident, report it to your insurance company. You should also ask your insurance company if you have medical coverage as part of your policy, in case you end up needing it. It’s wise to go to the doctor when you get the chance after a car accident, because even minor accidents can result in serious injuries. In the event your car is completely destroyed, the cost of getting a new car/car lease is something which can be factored into your eventual settlement/verdict final amount. In some cases, companies like Zooomr even agree to offer cars for free – and only collect payment after you win your case – which is unique.
Put all documents related to your accident in a file to keep things organized. You should also consult with an attorney after your accident, as he can advise you of your rights and how you should deal with your own insurance adjuster and the other driver’s adjuster.