No matter how or where it happened, a car accident is a jarring, traumatic experience that leaves one fumbling to figure out what to do. We have all heard advice from friends and families about what to do after an accident, but when it actually happens to you, it is all too easy to doubt what you have been told. If you or a loved one was injured in the collision, that’s just another layer of trauma preventing you from thinking clearly.
If you remember nothing else, please follow these three important steps to take after a car accident:
- Call the paramedics
- Gather as much information as you can
- Call the police
People hesitate on that last point more than any other, but it should not be treated as optional. You must call the police after a car accident (assuming you are physically capable), especially if anyone has been injured. While you may feel dubious about this, especially if you believe you may be at fault for the accident, it is vital to the health and safety of yourself and other involved in the crash. Besides filing an official, detailed report about the accident you will need for insurance and possible litigation purposes, the police will keep the peace between you and any other parties involved, and make sure all victims get medical treatment as needed.
What the police do after you report an accident
As mentioned previously, one of the main things the police will do after you report an accident is file an official report of their own. This will detail the circumstances of the accident and include witness statements, pictures, insurance information of all involved, and their own view of who is at fault based on the evidence. All of this will be important for your case, your insurance claim, and could be vital should criminal charges arise (e.g., for driving under the influence).
If anyone involved has vehicle or property damages that exceed $1,000, or if anyone is injured or killed, that accident might show up on your driving record as your fault unless the officer on the scene deems the other party to be at fault. After you file a report with the police, they must report it to the DMV. This is one of the many reasons why gathering as many facts as possible yourself and from a law officer is so important. Note that even if you don’t call the police, you are still required to report the accident to the DMV and insurer. Failure to report an accident, particularly one involving injuries and property damage, may result in the suspension or complete loss of your driver’s license and potential criminal and civil penalties.
Contact an experienced and trusted car accident attorney today
Another vital step in this process should be to contact a trustworthy, knowledgeable car accident attorney who knows how to build your case and present it in court. Even if you are partially responsible for the collision, having an attorney on your side ensures you will be treated fairly and justly. Simply being innocent is not always enough, especially if the other side has a lawyer and you don’t. When you hire Scott from Scott J. Corwin, A Professional Law Corporation, you can rest easy knowing your rights are in good hands.
Contact our office today by calling (310) 683-2300 or filling out the online contact from to discuss the details of your case and learn more about how we can help you. We offer free consultations, so there’s no reason not to reach out to someone from our team right away.