5 Things to Do after a Traffic Accident

Posted over 5 years ago. Applies to California, 2 helpful votes

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1

DON'T LEAVE THE SCENE

DON'T LEAVE THE SCENE of the accident until you have exchanged information with the other party. If someone called the police, make sure you give your side of the story to the police. The last thing you need is to be accused of hit and run or failure to exchange information. Unless of course you like going to jail and spending money on lawyers! And remember, if anyone was injured or there is property damage exceeding $1,000.00, you are REQUIRED to file an SR-1 with the DMV.

2

GET WITNESS INFORMATION

GET WITNESS INFORMATION from anyone who stops and talks to you. While you may find lots of helpful people at the scene of the accident, how many of them will be willing to come to court and testify for you? If someone tells you that they saw what happened but they don't want to give you their name or telephone number, take a picture of them and their license plate number. While you may want to do this "on the sly", if you get their license plate number, your lawyer may be able to track them down later through DMV records and subpoena them to testify in court.

3

TAKE PICTURES OF EVERYTHING

TAKE PICTURES OF EVERYTHING. Don't have a camera in your car (shame on you, disposable cameras are sooooo cheap), is that a cell phone in your hand? Does it have a camera? Snap away. Take pictures of the damages to all vehicles (don't forget to get those license plates, just in case), all the parties involved, any visible injuries, any debris on the ground, the location generally including any stop signs, traffic signals, lane marking, traffic signs, etc. While it has been said that a picture is worth a thousand words, I have found that a picture can be worth thousands of dollars to you!

4

GET THYSELF TO A DOCTOR

GET THYSELF TO A DOCTOR if you are injured. While lawyers are doctors (we have juris doctor degrees) we are not THAT type of doctor. The lawsuit can wait. Your health comes first! And from a legal standpoint, establishing and proving damages usually is done using medical records. If you don't have medical insurance, skip item 4 and go straight to item 5. Once you find a lawyer, they should be able to refer you to a Doctor who will treat you on a lien basis, that is, they will not bill you until you settle your case. Remember, your health comes first; your legal case second.

5

GET THYSELF TO A LAWYER

GET THYSELF TO A LAWYER. Yes, this may be a shameless plug, but even if you have a "slam dunk case" the other driver's insurance company stays in business by collecting premiums and paying out as little as possible in claims (to people like you). The money your lawyer takes by way of a fee may well be worth it as they are usually able to negotiate a better settlement than you can and they get to deal with the stress of handling your claim. Unless of course you like stress.

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