What Should I Do If I Get in a Car Accident?

October 13, 2021

Nobody wants to get into an automobile accident. Whether you drive a car, take the bus, or ride your bike, most of us do everything we can to avoid colliding with others on the road. Unfortunately, despite our best efforts to remain safe, accidents can still happen. While sometimes these collisions are due to negligence or poor driving, sometimes they are simply honest mistakes.

If you drive a car frequently, it is important that you are prepared for any scenario. Aside from keeping a spare blanket and first aid kit in your trunk, it is important that you know what to do if you get into an accident. With the right preparation and action plan, you may be able to mitigate the damage and avoid paying for costly car repairs, not to mention injuries and other consequences.

Follow these steps if you are involved in a car accident.

  1. Check for InjuriesThe moments after a car accident can be extremely strange. Many people are in shock or are confused about what has just happened. Try to take a few calming breaths and assess yourself for injuries. If you see a significant amount of blood or if you are experiencing extreme pain of any kind, do not move. Serious injuries can be made worse if you move from your initial spot.

    If you find that you are relatively unscathed, you can move on to check on others in the car. If anyone is hurt, or if there is significant damage, call 911.

  2. Move the Car or Get OutYour next step will depend upon the severity of the crash. If it is a significant accident, do not attempt to move your vehicle from where it is. In this scenario, get out of the car and move to the side of the road, if you are able, where you will be safe until authorities arrive.

    However, if your car can still drive, carefully move your car to the side of the road.

  3. Exchange InformationIf you are both able to do so, exchange license and insurance information with the other driver or others involved in the accident. License number and insurance information are necessary, but it can also help to get their email address and phone number as well.
  4. Take PhotosMake sure that you document the accident with your smartphone. Take as many pictures as you can of the damage to your car, damage to the other person’s car, damage to property or nature, debris, road signs, etc. The more information you can document, the better off you will be in any insurance disputes.
  5. Note WitnessesIf there are witnesses at the scene, ask them for their names, email addresses, and phone numbers. Depending on the situation, your attorney may need third-party accounts of what happened to build your case. The more contact information you can gather, the better.
  6. Speak With AuthoritiesNote the names and badge numbers of any police officers at the scene. If they need a statement from you, give the basic information without expending too much or adding any emotion. Ask when and where you can access their report.
  7. Call Your AttorneyHaving an attorney on your side, even for small accidents, is always a good thing. Insurance companies will make every attempt to make you pay for damage, even if the accident was not your fault. Accidents of any size can quickly become intense legal battles, and it is best for your financial and personal well-being to have a legal representative who has your best interests at heart.

Insurance Companies and Car Accidents

Many people believe that their insurance company is there to protect them after an accident. Though this is true in theory, the reality is that insurance companies are businesses first and foremost. They want to maximize profits and minimize payouts whenever possible. Because of this, they have many tactics to get individuals to inadvertently admit fault after a car accident.

Some examples of insurance company tactics include:

  • Calling victims immediately following their accidents to rush a statement.
  • Asking leading questions to get victims to claim responsibility.
  • Having victims followed to confirm that their activities coincide with injuries that they claim to have.
  • Engaging in tedious battles over who is responsible for the accident, so the victims don’t see payouts for a long time.

If you aren’t accustomed to these tactics, they can be extremely hard to spot and even more difficult to combat.

Why Hire an Attorney

If you don’t catch insurance company tactics as they happen, you may find yourself financially responsible for a large number of repairs and medical bills. Your own insurance company may even refuse to pay, depending on the severity of the accident and the cost of the bills. Having an attorney on your side can help you to navigate both the other driver’s insurance and your own. When you are contacted by insurance companies, you can reroute them directly to your lawyer, who will answer their questions in an appropriate, diplomatic fashion that won’t ruin your case.

Many people mistakenly believe that car accidents are not large enough issues for attorneys to take on. On the contrary, car accidents can create significant legal issues and can end up ruining a family’s finances. An attorney can help to make sure that a single collision does not financially ruin you.

Contact Craig Castle

When it comes to car accidents and personal injury cases, no one can represent you better than our team at The Law Offices of Craig F. Castle. We’ve been serving the San Diego area for over 40 years. Our team can help you to navigate the tough world of insurance and help to preserve your family’s finances and livelihood. Though we cannot undo the damage done to your property and body, we can help you to minimize further damage from predatory insurance companies and medical bills.

For more information or to schedule a consultation with us, please contact us online today.