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What Californians Should Do When They Get in a Car Accident

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Car accidents can be terrifying. Even if you’re not badly hurt, the shock of being in an accident can make everything overwhelming and confusing. However, as shocking as it is, there are some things you need to do as soon as you can in order to ensure the safety of everyone at the scene and protect yourself in the event that the accident leads to a court case. Others involved in the accident may try to sue you if they believed your actions led to the crash.

Of course, if you know someone else is to blame, you may have to seek compensation in court if they are unwilling to make things right. If this is the case you will want to contact a personal injury attorney that can get you the most money for your case.

“If you have any type of pain or discomfort after an accident, I recommend you seek medical attention at a local urgent care or hospital as soon as possible.  This helps ensure your injuries are both treated and documented,” explains Eliot M. Houman, Lawyer at The Accident Guys in Whittier.

Regardless of what happens later, here are some of the things you need to do immediately after the accident and while you are still at the scene.

Make Certain You Are Okay

The first thing you need to do is make certain you’re okay. If you are bleeding or cannot move a limb without pain, stay where you are if it’s safe for you to do so. If it’s not, do your best to carefully move to a safe place. Check on any passengers and others involved in the crash and help them to a safe place if you can. If they’re bleeding or appear heavily injured, it may be best to wait until medical professionals arrive. Always place your wellbeing and the wellbeing of others above everything else.

Call 911 or the Local Police

Next, call 911 if the situation warrants it. In minor crashes, you may not need emergency services. However, you will still want the police to come to the scene and provide a report. If you are on a busy street or a location where there are other people around, it’s likely at least one other person will report the accident. You should never assume this, though, especially if you believe you are injured and need an ambulance.

Do Not Admit Guilt

During the entire stay at the scene, do not admit guilt if you were not at fault. You shouldn’t even apologize to the other driver or anyone else involved. This could be seen as an admission of guilt, even if you don’t mean it as such.

Take Photos

Take as many photos of the scene of the accident as you can. This includes photos of both vehicles, a wide shot of the location, photos of any small injuries you have, and anything else you think may be of help. Fortunately, since cameras are integrated into smart phones, this is now much easier than it once was. Take video as well if the situation calls for it. Think of this as gathering evidence. Even if you don’t end up in court over the accident, it is better to have this information on hand.

Gather Information

Get the names and contact information of other drivers involved, any passengers, the officers who arrived on the scene, medical professionals who treated you, and witnesses. This is another area where technology makes things easier. You can add this information directly into the notes app on your cell phone rather than trying to find pen and paper. You should also be given or told how to obtain any medical and police reports regarding the accident. Also be sure you get the other driver’s insurance information.

Call Your Doctor to Schedule an Exam

If the accident was bad enough that an ambulance came to the scene, you may assume that the EMTs took care of all of your medical needs. However, this isn’t always the case. While they may not have found a reason for you to go to the hospital, there may still be damage done to your body. Whiplash, for example, is often hard to diagnose right away. You should call your doctor and make an appointment for a checkup, especially if you are still in pain, have pain in new areas of your body, or have increased pain.

While these are all good things to do after an accident, remember that your first priority is to your wellbeing. Don’t force yourself to take photos or talk to others if you are injured. Instead, wait for medical professionals to arrive.

With experience as a full-time environmentalist and part time journalist, Lisa heads the post of editor at California Herald. She covers all the significant proceedings in the world of Environment while editing all the news pieces posted over the website to ensure everything aligns with the journalistic format.

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