Steps to take after a car accident

Written on behalf of Abramson Smith Waldsmith LLP

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Being in a car accident can be stressful, and sometimes it is so shocking at first that it is hard to remember what exactly you should do. It is a good idea for drivers in California to have the steps written down and readily available in the event of a crash. Even for minor accidents it is a good idea to follow the recommended steps.

According to the US News, the first step should be to get out of the way of traffic if at all possible. If injuries are suspected, call 911 right away. Even without injuries, it is a good idea to call the police, even if it looks like there is no damage to any of the vehicles involved. A police report can help determine who is at fault and, therefore, whose insurance company pays for damages. Next, it is extremely important to exchange contact and insurance information with the other drivers involved. Without this information, you may have difficulty finding someone to pay for damages to the vehicle or occupants. 

Police can assist with interviewing witnesses, but if police are not on scene, get the name and contact information of anyone who saw the accident happen. You should also take pictures with your phone or camera.

The California Department of Insurance cautions drivers on things to avoid. These include offering to be at fault or arguing with the other vehicle occupants or driver. You should also not sign anything the other driver asks you to. Avoid sharing too much information, including how you feel, and wait until the police arrives to give your full statement.


Jeffrey R. Smith

Jeffrey R. Smith

Managing Partner

Robert B. Waldsmith

Robert J. Waldsmith

Partner, 1999

William B. Smith

William B. Smith

Partner, 1978

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