The Most Important Steps to Take After a Car Accident

Categories: Car Accidents

Millions of vehicles use the roads around San Luis Obispo every year. That means the risk of getting into a car accident is pretty high. Even if you are a perfectly safe driver without so much as a parking ticket on your record, other drivers can and do regularly make mistakes. If you’ve been injured in a collision, you must speak to a San Luis Obispo car accident lawyer at Ernst Law Group.

How Ernst Law Group Can Help You

At Ernst Law Group, we have been representing victims of car wrecks for over 40 years. Early on in our firm’s history, we realized that many people aren’t sure what to do after they’ve been in a collision. That means mistakes are often made by drivers, which can make getting compensation much more difficult, or even land them in legal trouble.

We’re here to help you understand the steps you should take after you’ve been involved in a car wreck in southern California. One of the most important steps to take if you were injured is to speak with a San Luis Obispo car accident lawyer as soon as possible. Give us a call at (805) 541-0300 or contact us online for a free, no-obligation consultation today.

Step 1: Keep Calm, Check On Everyone Involved, and Call 9-1-1

After a wreck, one of the worst things you can do is freak out or blow your top. Instead, be sure to take a breath and maintain your composure. Check on everyone in your vehicle for injuries. If you have any major injuries, especially to your head or neck, don’t move! Doing so could worsen your injuries. The same goes for everyone else in your vehicle. Anyone with major injuries should not be moved.

Call 9-1-1 as soon as possible, and be sure to request an ambulance, even if you don’t think you’re seriously injured. Adrenaline does a great job of masking any pain you should be feeling, and some injuries aren’t always immediately evident. A medical professional can evaluate you for injuries and provide treatment as needed.

Obey every order you get from the EMTs, including taking the ambulance to the hospital. Be sure to do exactly what the doctor says, and follow up with your doctor within a week of the accident, if possible.

Step 2: Talk (Carefully) to the Police and Others at the Scene

When the police arrive, be sure to give a factual statement of what happened. Conjecture or guesswork won’t help anyone. Instead, simply state what happened as you remember it. For instance, it’s fine to say that you were rear-ended by the other vehicle. But you shouldn’t say that the other driver was texting and driving unless you’re positive they were.

You will also need to speak with the other driver involved. When you’re talking to them (or the police, for that matter), NEVER apologize, which can be taken as admitting fault. Admitting fault can mean you forfeit your right to compensation. Instead, simply exchange information with the other driver. This includes your insurance information, contact information, and address.

If there are any other witnesses at the scene of the wreck, be sure to talk to them as well, if you can. Use your phone to record their statement of what happened, and be sure to get their contact information as well. Having that information as part of the recording can be immensely helpful.

Step 3: Take Photos of the Scene

One of the most important things you can do at the scene of the accident is to take photos and gather as much evidence as you can. Ideally, you should take photos before the vehicles are moved to the side of the road, but that’s not always feasible. Even if the vehicles have been moved, take as many photos as you can.

These photos should include damage to both cars, the intersection where the accident happened (if applicable), road conditions, nearby road signs or traffic control devices, weather conditions, injuries, and anything else that may seem relevant. Having too many photos is a lot better than not having enough.

Step 4: Call Your Insurance Company

You’ll need to report the accident to your insurance company, even if you weren’t at fault for the accident. This means either calling your insurance company or, if they have an app, reporting the accident there. Reporting the accident on an app may be better than making a call. You have to type out what happened on the app, meaning you have time to think about it before submitting your answers.

If you do have to call to report the accident, be very careful about what you say. Your insurance company will be recording the call to look for any reason to blame you for the wreck or otherwise reduce the amount of compensation you get.

Instead, simply tell them when and where the accident happened, your policy information, and the information of the other driver. They can get the other details from the police report.

Step 5: Call a San Luis Obispo Car Accident Lawyer ASAP

Within a few days of your car accident, reach out to an experienced car accident lawyer. Even if you aren’t sure who’s at fault for the wreck or you sustained serious injuries, your lawyer can review all of the details of your case and help you determine what types of compensation you may be entitled to.

At Ernst Law Group, we always offer free consultations. That way, you can review all of your legal options without having to pay a dime. In addition, if we file a lawsuit on your behalf, you never owe us a dime unless we win. Give us a call at (805) 541-0300 or contact us online to speak with an experienced San Luis Obispo car accident lawyer today.