Even if it is just a fender bender, getting involved in an auto accident can be a traumatizing experience. The moments following the accident can be confusing, to say the least.
However, if you have been involved in a car accident, there are a number of things you need to do as soon as possible to safeguard yourself and your interests. Here are some of them:
Check if you or your passengers are hurt
Before stepping out of the car, it is important that you check whether you and your passengers have sustained any apparent injury that may require first aid. Your health as well as that of your passengers must be your top priority. Once you have established that no one needs emergency care, you should step out of the vehicle and assess the damages.
Call the police
Under California law, you are required to report any car accident that results in death, an injury or property damage exceeding $1,000. The police will investigate the accident and generate a report that you can use when litigating your case and making a claim.
Once the police arrive, be sure to cooperate with them to construct an accurate account of the accident. If you cannot recollect certain facts, tell them so rather than guessing.
As the police do their job, do gather your own evidence as well. Using your smartphone, take as many photos of the accident scene as you can. Be sure to capture any damages and injuries on camera. And if there are any traffic indicators at the scene, like traffic lights, take photos of these too.
Besides the photographic evidence, ensure that you obtain eyewitness statements. This can help you build a strong case against the other party should the matter end up in court.
A car accident can result in serious injury and property damage. If you are involved in a car accident that is the result of someone else’s fault, it is important that you know the steps you should take and your legal options.