6 Steps to Take When Injured in a Car Accident | California
California’s Annual Report of Fatal and Injury Motor Vehicle Traffic Collisions revealed 3,737 car accident fatalities and 269,031 injuries occurred in 2019.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), traffic crashes cost the American public over $340 billion in the last reporting year.
These accidents often result in economic and non-economic losses, including lost productivity, medical expenses, court costs, emergency service costs, property damage, workplace losses, and pain and suffering.
Recovering damages after a California car accident is crucial to mitigating the socio-economic impact on the victim and their family.
However, securing compensation after an accident requires the victim to take steps to protect their rights and remedies. An experienced California personal injury attorney can help those injured in a car accident in California.
What Happens If You Get Hurt in a Car Accident
What happens if you get hurt in a car accident? Crash victims, their families, their employers, and society can experience the devastating aftermath of a motor vehicle accident in various ways.
After a California car accident, the individual victim may face high medical care costs in the form of insurance, copayments, and uninsured expenses.
The wider society often experiences higher insurance premiums because car accidents divert resources away from other medical concerns, such as research and public health needs.
There are also substantial costs associated with productivity loss when the crash victim experiences a long or short-term disability. Moreover, the victim’s family might suffer immediate economic burdens and long-term emotional challenges because of the accident.
In addition to the financial consequences, individuals who get hurt in a car accident often suffer physical pain, disability, and psychological distress.
These experiences can have long-term ramifications on the crash victim’s daily life. California crash victims should work with an attorney to address these losses and secure compensation from the at-fault party.
What to Do When Injured in a Car Accident
What to do when injured in a car accident. In California, accident victims who suffer injuries and losses because of another’s negligence have a right to compensation under the state’s personal injury laws.
However, California crash victims must comply with the state’s strict procedural, evidentiary, substantive laws, and statute of limitations requirements. Understanding these laws is crucial to recovering just compensation after a car accident.
The Steps to Take after a Car Accident in California
Anyone driving in California should know what to do when injured in a car accident.
Here are six steps to take after a California car accident.
1. Check for Injuries and Get to Safety
After a car accident, individuals should check for injuries on themselves and their passengers. If the driver or passenger suffered severe injuries, trying not to move and wait for emergency services is essential.
However, moving to a shoulder or sidewalk can prevent additional collisions and injuries. Those involved in an accident should also check on the well-being of others involved in the collision, even if the other driver was at fault.
2. Report the Accident to 911
Reporting accidents to 911 is crucial regardless of whether the accident appears to be a fender bender or a major injury collision.
In some places, law enforcement responds to every accident scene; in contrast, other districts might consider the severity and location of the accident before responding. However, reporting the incident is vital to protecting any future compensation claims.
3. Exchange Information
After an accident, the parties should exchange important identifying information such as names, addresses, telephone numbers, driver’s license numbers, license plate information, and insurance information.
Collecting information from witnesses and passengers can also aid car accident compensation claims. For example, the last thing you want is to let a driver leave the scene without reporting the accident or obtaining their information.
4. Gather Evidence
Compelling and relevant evidence is critical to car accident lawsuits in California. Those hurt in a car accident should do the following:
- Identify any responding officers;
- Get a copy of accident reports and statements;
- Take pictures and videos of the accident scene from different angles, including property damage and injuries; and
- Gather witnesses’ names and identifying information and take notes of their statements.
Taking these steps will help the victim pursue a claim for damages and rebut any claims of contributory negligence raised by the other driver’s insurance company.
5. Seek Medical Treatment
Scheduling an appointment with a doctor after a car accident is essential for the victim’s health and safety.
These records serve as necessary evidence in a personal injury lawsuit. For example, it’s much harder for the insurance company to argue that your injuries were unrelated to the accident if you have medical records indicating you received treatment after getting into a car accident.
Unfortunately, it’s common for accident victims to experience a rush of adrenaline that can mask their injuries and symptoms. As such, seeking medical treatment for a complete evaluation is critical.
6. Contact an Attorney
Contacting an attorney after a California car accident is one of the most important steps a victim can take to protect their rights and secure compensation. An attorney can advise the crash victim on the best way to proceed with their case.
Further, experienced lawyers can gather relevant evidence, review medical records, negotiate settlements, rebut defenses, and develop a compelling claim for compensation.
Discuss Your Case with the Experienced LA Injury Attorneys at Starpoint Law
If you’ve been injured in a car accident, you have rights, but you may not know what they are. That’s where the dedicated Los Angeles car accident lawyers at Starpoint Law come in.
We take the time to listen to you to better understand what happened, what’s most important to you, and how we can best serve you.