Motor vehicle accidents can be frightening and stressful experiences. Road accident rates are alarmingly high across America; for example, California witnessed 3,723 motor vehicle deaths in 2020.
Whether a minor fender bender or a major crash, it’s a big deal and can leave you unsure of what to do next. But don’t worry – plenty of legal professionals in California have got you covered! We’ll provide step-by-step guidance on what to do when met with a motor vehicle accident.
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Pull Over to the Side of the Road
If you are involved in a less severe motor vehicle accident, the best thing to do is move your vehicle off the road – this will help prevent any further accidents from happening. If unable, turn on your hazard lights and wait for help to arrive.
Turn on Your Hazard Lights
After you’ve been in a motor vehicle accident, turn on your hazard lights to warn other drivers of the potential danger and help them avoid getting into an accident themselves.
Once your hazard lights are on, you can assess the situation and decide whether getting out of your vehicle is safe. If so, exit your car and move to a safer location away from traffic. If unable to exit, or it’s unsafe, stay inside and wait for help to arrive.
Call the Police
If you’re involved in a motor vehicle accident, call the police. This is true even if the accident is less severe and there appears to be no damage. The police will create a report that can be used as evidence if there are any problems later. They will also be able to help sort out the details of what happened and who was at fault.
Take Pictures of the Damage
This is an integral step for insurance purposes that many forget. It’s best to take pictures as soon as possible after the accident happens – while everything is still fresh. Use the camera on your cell phone to take clear photos of all vehicles involved, including skid marks on the road and close-ups of each car involved.
These photos will help your insurance company determine who was at fault for the accident and how much repairs are owed.
Get the Contact Information of the Other Driver
Once you’ve called the police and exchanged information with the other driver, you’ll need their name, contact information, insurance company, and policy number. If they don’t have insurance, get their license plate number and driver’s license number. You’ll need this information to file a police report and claim insurance.
Seek Medical Attention
Even if you feel okay after the accident, you may have injuries not immediately apparent. A doctor or emergency room visit can help reveal any injuries you may have sustained in the accident.
Hire a Lawyer
If necessary, hire a lawyer. An experienced personal injury lawyer will be able to help you navigate the complex legal process and ensure that you receive the compensation you deserve. When meeting with a prospective lawyer, ask about their experience handling cases like yours.
You’ll also want to ask about their success rate and how they approach settlement negotiations. It is important to inquire about fees when consulting with personal injury lawyers. Typically, these lawyers operate on a contingency basis, which indicates that they only receive payment if they successfully settle your case.
Your lawyer will likely begin by gathering evidence and interviewing witnesses to build a strong case on your behalf. They’ll also handle all the paperwork and communications with insurance companies and other parties involved in the case. Throughout the process, your lawyer will keep you updated on the status of your case and answer any questions you may have.
California saw 3,723 motor vehicle deaths in 2020, just one state. Road accidents happen every day, and it’s essential to keep calm and take the necessary steps to protect yourself, your passengers, and other drivers on the road. Following the tips we have provided today, you’ll know what to do when met with a motor vehicle accident.