At the scene of a car accident you’ve been involved in in San Luis Obispo, you are understandably shaken up. Your adrenaline spikes and everything seems foggy. It can be difficult to put your thoughts together and know what to do.
Unfortunately, you don’t have the luxury of making any mistakes after a vehicle collision. What you say and do can mean the difference between a successful personal injury case and walking away with even less than you began with.
Ernst Law Group has been representing victims of car accidents for more than three decades. We know the stress you are under and the financial struggle you face. Our San Luis Obispo car accident attorney team is here for you and your family.
Call our office today at (805) 541-0300 or contact us online to schedule your free case evaluation.
In the meantime, let’s take a closer look at the steps you should take at the scene of your car accident.
Check On Yourself and Others
The first major step you need to take is to call 911. If you are unable to make the call yourself, ask someone else to do it for you. But before reporting the accident, you need to be able to tell dispatch who is hurt and whether an ambulance is needed.
If you believe yourself to be injured, do not move. Wait for help to arrive. If you don’t think you are seriously injured and can move safely, go check on other people involved in the accident.
If you discover that anyone is injured and are able to render first aid, do so. You may also choose to sit with any injured parties and keep them calm until help arrives. Remember not to move anyone who may have experienced a head, neck, or back injury. Movement can make the injuries more severe.
Move to Safety
Unless emergency services tell you otherwise, move your vehicle out of the way of traffic. If your vehicle is not obstructing the roadway, leave it where it is.
Do not drive away from the scene. You don’t want to face charges for fleeing an accident. Simply move your car to the side of the road or into a nearby parking lot and wait for the police to arrive.
Ideally, you will take photos of the wreckage before any vehicles or debris are moved if it is safe to do so.
In some cases, dispatch will tell you to leave your vehicle where it is. This is often so police can conduct an accident investigation. Always follow the instructions you are given by emergency personnel.
Wait For Assistance
Once 911 has been called and you have followed instructions given by dispatch, turn off your engine and turn on your hazard lights. If you have road flares or other emergency indicators, place them around the scene to alert oncoming traffic to the collision.
While waiting for assistance, remain calm. Do not make statements that could be interpreted as admitting fault. Also, do not argue or act aggressively toward others even if they are doing so to you. If you don’t feel safe where you are for whatever reason, you are allowed to move to a safe location after informing the police of the change.
However, you should first try to get information from the other driver to decrease the risk that you won’t be able to identify them later.
After you check on everyone and move your vehicle, the next step is to exchange information with other parties involved in the car accident.
At a minimum, attempt to secure the other driver’s name, contact information, and insurance information. They are legally required to provide these details.
Jot down the make and model of their vehicle, as well as the color. If the other party refuses to give you their information, do not press the issue. The police will collect the information when they investigate the scene of the car accident and complete their report.
Take Photos and Video of the Scene of the Car Accident
As long as it is safe to do so, take extensive pictures and video of the scene. Make sure you get several angles when you are taking photos of the damage sustained by the vehicles.
Record video that will show a judge or jury the current weather conditions as well as the condition of the road.
Take photos of the license plates of the other vehicles involved in the collision.
Talk to Your Insurance Agent
In most cases, you have 48 hours or less to contact your insurance agent regarding the accident. Even if you weren’t at fault in the accident, you need to report the wreck to your insurance agent.
Keep in mind that you don’t need to give your agent anything beyond the facts, including your name, contact information, and the date. Do not offer your opinion and do not tell your insurance agent that you didn’t suffer injury.
Call a San Luis Obispo Car Accident Lawyer
When you suffer injuries in a car wreck, you may be entitled to compensation for medical bills, lost wages, and more. A San Luis Obispo car accident attorney from Ernst Law Group will fight vigorously on your behalf so you are treated fairly by insurers and have the highest chances possible of obtaining compensation. Call our office today at (805) 541-0300 or contact us online to schedule an appointment for a free case evaluation where you can learn more about your legal options.