Car accidents in Los Angeles are far more common than you might think, and at some point, chances are good that you’re going to be involved in one, even if it’s just a minor fender-bender. Knowing the right steps to take will help ensure that you cover all your legal bases (and that you get the experienced legal counsel you need if the situation warrants it).
- Stay There - Don’t leave the scene of an accident. This is a crime, and you could face charges for doing so. If you’re on the interstate, move the vehicles out of travel lanes and onto the right shoulder.
- Check On All Parties - First and foremost, check on all parties to determine the extent of injuries, if any. Assess yourself, and then any passengers in your vehicle. If you’re able, assess the other parties involved in the accident.
- Call the Police - State Farm recommends that the very next step should be calling 911. Inform the dispatcher of what happened, where you’re located and whether or not there were any injuries. The dispatcher will send police and paramedics to the scene, as well as any other emergency services if necessary.
- Tell Your Story - When the police arrive, you’ll need to give them a statement about what happened. It’s important that you tell them everything that happened, as it happened, without coloring your statements. Keep your information as factual as possible, whether you were at fault or not. Write down everything you can remember about the accident as soon as possible, (on the scene works best).
- Exchange Insurance Information - You’ll need to get a good bit of information from the other driver, including their name, their address, license plate number, and insurance information (including a contact number and their policy number). They will need to get the same information from you. If the driver’s name is different from that on the insurance card, write down the information (their name, their relationship to the insured, etc.).
- Look for a Lawyer - Okay, chances are good that if it was a fender-bender you probably don't need a lawyer. However, if you or a family member was injured you should contact our car accident attorneys in Los Angeles to learn about your rights. While your insurance company will get to work immediately, it’s important that you have a legal expert on your side from the get-go.
- Don’t sign anything, unless it’s for the police or your insurance company.
- Don't lose your cool - Emotions tend to run high after an accident, it's easy to lose your temper especially if the other driver was at fault... it helps no one.
- Don't offer to pay for damage. Let the insurance companies figure this out, offering to pay for damages, (or apologizing), is like admitting fault.
With these tips, you should be better prepared if you’re ever involved in an auto accident.