“I had a car accident; what do I do now?” This is a question we hear a lot here at Pathway Injury Lawyers.
The first thing you need to know is that California, like Texas and most other states, is a “fault” state when it comes to car accidents. This means that the person who caused the accident is responsible for paying for any damage or injuries that result from it.
Another important thing to keep in mind is that insurance companies are businesses, and their main goal is to make money. They do this by either denying claims or paying out as little as possible on them.
That’s why it’s so important to have an experienced car accident lawyer who can fight for you and make sure you get the compensation you deserve.
Our goal is to provide you with adequate resources to help you through this difficult time. In this guide on how to deal with a car accident, you will find information on:
- What to do after an accident that is your fault
- What to do after an accident that is not your fault
- What to do if you hit a car from behind
- After car accident symptoms
- How to get compensation for your injuries or damage to your vehicle.
Let’s dive in.
What to Do If the Accident Is Your Fault
The first thing you need to do if you caused an accident is to stop your vehicle and turn off the engine. You should then get out of your car and move to a safe location away from oncoming traffic. You should also try to turn on your hazard lights if you can.
Once you’re in a safe place, you should check to see if anyone is injured and, if so, provide first aid if you’re able. You should also call 911 to report the accident and request medical assistance.
It’s important to stay at the scene of the accident until they arrive. If you leave, it’s considered a hit and run and you could be charged with a crime.
Once the police arrive, they will likely want to talk to you about what happened. It’s important to be honest with them but avoid admitting fault or making any statements that could be used against you later.
If the accident is your fault, the other driver will likely file a claim with your insurance company. Your rates will probably go up as a result, but how much they increase will depend on the value of your car, whether you were intoxicated, and your history of accidents.
What to Do If the Accident Is Not Your Fault
If the accident is not your fault, you should still take some important steps:
- Check for injuries and get medical help if necessary.
- Call the police and file a report, even if the other driver tries to talk you out of it.
- Exchange information with the other driver, including insurance information.
- Take pictures of the accident scene, including damage to both vehicles.
- Get the contact information of any witnesses who saw what happened.
- Call an experienced car accident lawyer as soon as possible.
Your first step should always be to seek medical attention, even if you don’t think you’re injured. Sometimes injuries, such as whiplash, can take days or even weeks to appear.
The other driver may try to talk you out of calling the police or exchanging insurance information. They may even try to get you to agree to not file a claim or to give them your word that you won’t sue.
Don’t fall for it. It’s always best to let the police and your insurance company handle things. And, if you do decide to file a lawsuit, having an experienced California car accident lawyer on your side will increase your chances of success.
What to Do if You Hit a Car from Behind
You could either be at fault or not at fault if you hit a car from behind. It all depends on the circumstances of the accident.
If the other driver had to brake suddenly and you didn’t have time to react, you may not be at fault. But if you were following too closely or weren’t paying attention, you could be held liable.
As with any other type of accident, it’s important to exchange insurance information with the other driver and to call the police. You should also take pictures of the damage to both vehicles and get the contact information of any witnesses.
If the other driver is at fault, their insurance company should pay for the damages to your vehicle. If you’re found to be at fault, your insurance company will likely cover the damages to the other driver’s vehicle.
After Car Accident Symptoms
As we mentioned earlier, some injuries, such as whiplash, can take days or even weeks to appear. So, it’s important to be aware of the signs and symptoms of these types of injuries.
Some common after-car accident symptoms include:
- Neck pain or stiffness
- Blurred vision
- Numbness or tingling in the arms or legs
- Jaw pain or TMJ problems
If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, you should see a doctor as soon as possible. If you wait too long, it could be more difficult to prove that your injuries were caused by the accident.
As you seek medical help, be sure to document the following:
- The date and time of your accident
- How the accident happened
- The symptoms you’re experiencing
- Any treatments you’ve received or medications you’ve been prescribed
- Any missed work or other activities you’ve had to miss because of your injuries
- Any out-of-pocket expenses you’ve incurred because of the accident, such as medical bills or travel costs
This documentation will be important if you decide to file a personal injury lawsuit.
The Bottom Line: How to Get Compensation After a Car Accident in California
If you’ve been in a car accident, you may be wondering how to get compensated for your injuries. The first step is to seek medical attention and to document everything related to the accident and your injuries.
If the accident was caused by another driver’s negligence, you may be able to file a personal injury lawsuit against them. An experienced California car accident lawyer will be able to review the facts of your case and help you determine if you have a valid claim.
If you decide to file a lawsuit, your lawyer will work to negotiate a settlement with the other driver’s insurance company. If they’re unable to reach a settlement, they’ll take your case to trial.
Here at Pathway Injury Lawyers, we are dedicated to helping accident victims get the compensation they deserve. Contact us today at 888-414-3898 or fill out our online form to schedule a free consultation with one of our experienced car accident lawyers.