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What Should You Do Immediately After a Car Accident?

April 23, 2021 Car Accidents

A car accident can turn your life upside down without warning, and the steps are taken immediately after can significantly impact your financial future.

Any mistakes can result in an excuse from the insurance company to devalue or deny your claim. Although you may feel overwhelmed and stressed, there are several things you should do to ensure your rights are protected.

Stay Calm and at the Scene

The aftermath of a car accident can be chaotic. Try your best to remain calm and call 9-1-1 if anyone has been injured.

If the accident is minor, pull your vehicle to the side of the road. Even if the damage seems minimal, never leave the scene of an accident.  California law requires the exchange of information with the other parties to the accident.  

Call the Police 

If your injuries are not severe enough to call 9-1-1, notify the California Highway Patrol or local police.  Calling the police is vital, as they will create an accident report that can help you when it comes time to file an insurance claim.

The report will contain the facts of the accident, each party’s contact, and insurance information, as well as the officer’s findings as to how the collision occurred. When the other party or an officer speaks to you, never admit fault even if you think you are to blame.

However, let the police know if you believe the other driver was under the influence or was otherwise distracted while driving. 

Gather Information

Unless you are immediately taken to the hospital, take photos and video of the accident scene with your cell phone or a camera.

Make sure to include the damage to all vehicles and surrounding objects, visible injuries, and a view of the entire scene.

Write down the names, phone numbers, addresses, and insurance information for all parties involved, witnesses to the crash, and the name, badge number, and contact information for the police officer. As soon as you can, write down how the accident happened while it is still fresh in your memory, and include: 


  • The exact location of the accident (main street and any cross streets)
  • The date and time of the accident
  • The direction you were traveling
  • The direction the other car was traveling
  • Any notable features (stop sign, red light)
  • Weather visibility
  • Any obstruction such as work crews, constructions, or barriers
  • The number of passengers in both cars
  • Events leading up to the crash

Notify Your Insurance Company

Report the accident to your insurer as soon as possible, and a representative will go over your next steps and give instructions on how to file a claim. 

Seek Medical Care

See a doctor right after an accident. The best option is to go to the emergency room, even if you aren’t exhibiting any symptoms.

Documentation of your injuries and any potential injuries is needed for the insurance adjuster. Keep track of your medical treatment, medical expenses, time loss from work, and how the accident has impacted your daily life.

The value of your claim is dependent, in large part, upon your required medical care and losses. 

Hire a Car Accident Lawyer

Hire an experienced car accident lawyer to get the maximum amount of compensation possible.

Whether they negotiate a settlement or argue your case in court, an attorney has the resources to investigate your accident and gather valuable evidence to support your claim.

Plus, car accident lawyers typically work on a contingency fee basis which means you will not have to pay any money upfront and only owe legal fees if you win. 

Contact CaseyGerry

If you or a loved one has been seriously injured, speak to a highly skilled Car Accident Lawyer in San Diego. Our attorneys are experienced, compassionate, and dedicated to obtaining the best possible result for you. Give us a call today for a no-obligation and free consultation, (619) 238-1811.