What to Do Immediately After a Car Accident
Getting into a car accident can be one of the most traumatic experiences a person can go through. Not only are you and your loved ones exposed to the possibility of great injury, but you also run the risk of several consequences after the accident, including continued medical treatment, lost wages, loss of your car and even the possibility of losing your job. In order to protect your rights, if you do get into an accident, it’s important that you take the right steps from the very beginning. This includes:
- Making sure everyone is safe: It is sometimes difficult to tell how badly you or any other passenger in the vehicle is injured immediately after a crash. After the accident make sure everyone is ok and no one is severely injured. If anyone appears to have suffered a substantial injury, call 911 for emergency help.
- Securing the vehicles involved: If you are in the middle of traffic, try to move the vehicles to the side of the road to a safer location. If a vehicle is not drivable, call a tow truck to have a vehicle moved.
- Talking to the driver and passengers of the other vehicles: Make sure they are ok, and exchange information with the drivers of the other vehicles. Exchange car insurance information. Write down the other vehicles information including the make, model, year and license plate. Take the name and address of both the driver and owner of any other vehicles involved. Never admit responsibility for an accident. An investigation is usually required to determine who was responsible.
- Taking down information about the accident: If possible, document anything you think will be helpful in determining how the accident happened including where the damages are to the vehicles. Talk to people around the accident and see if they witnessed the accident, if you can take down their contact information. If you have a camera, take pictures of all the vehicles involved, including the damages and the license plate of the vehicles. Take a picture of the scene of the accident including all traffic signs. Do not assume that the police will arrive and conduct an investigation. Most of the time the police do not come out to the scene of an accident.
- Keeping track of any injuries you suffered: Many times after an accident injuries are not apparent until several days and sometimes several weeks after an accident. Make sure you track any injuries you think are related to the accident. If you feel you are not improving seek medical attention as soon as possible.
Since 1995, attorney Eric Castelblanco has been dedicated to helping tenants understand and assert their rights. For more information about your rights, call 213-388-6004 or visit their website at: www.castelblanco.com. The information presented in this column is for educational purposes only. You should seek the advice of an attorney regarding your individual situation.