The bustling city of Los Angeles is a hotbed for potential car accidents. Navigating the 405, the 101, the 10, and the 5 on your commute is often bumper-to-bumper, with plenty of opportunities for rear-end collisions. Motorcyclists are free to lane split, running the risk for sideswipe incidents or collisions merging lanes. Getting around downtown involves hundreds of pedestrians and bicyclists. Drivers must pay strict attention at all times. A car crash can occur in the blink of an eye.
Driving anywhere in California is risky. The majority of collisions, however, are preventable. Attention to the road, competence behind the wheel, and proper vehicle maintenance can reduce the odds of getting into a collision. Negligence, recklessness, and breaking the law are at the heart of most “accidents.” At California Injury Law Group, we’ve represented clients in dozens of car crash cases. We understand the common causes, defendants, and how to fight for compensation for collision-related injuries. Whether you suffered burns, broken bones, brain injury, a spinal cord injury, or other damages, talk to our attorneys. The road to recovery starts just a phone call away.
What to Do Following a Car Accident (10-Step Checklist)
No one can predict a car accident, but you can prepare for one. Having a car accident checklist in your glove box can help you stay calm and organized after a car crash. It can tell you what to do and what not to do, and how best to protect your rights. When in doubt, give us a call. Keep our phone number, (888) 488-1391, in your phone or written down in case the worst occurs. You aren’t alone after a serious collision. Here’s what to do:
- Stay calm.
Stay on the scene and make sure everyone is okay. Check yourself for injuries first, and then check others. Remain calm and do not admit fault.
- Get to a safe location.
Move disabled vehicles to the side of the road if you can. Put your emergency flashers on to help prevent further collisions. Get somewhere safe to wait for police.
- Call 911.
Call the police to report your accident. Unless your crash was very minor, with no injuries or property damage, you should call the cops. Police can document the incident, gather information, and make it part of an official record.
- Exchange information.
Swap names, phone numbers, and insurance information with the other driver(s) involved in the accident. Take photos of the vehicles, license plates, and other vital details if possible.
- Do not admit fault.
Again, do not admit fault, even to the police. Stick only to the facts of what happened when speaking with a police officer. Be as detailed as possible in your description of the collision.
- Seek medical attention.
Go to the hospital or your primary doctor as soon as possible. Immediate medical care can help reduce the damages you suffer from injuries. Tests and scans can identify internal injuries that may not show symptoms yet.
- Report to your insurance company.
Most insurers have time limits for how soon you must report an accident. Call quickly and follow the agent’s directions for reporting your crash.
- Speak to insurance adjusters.
As soon as the day of your accident, you may receive a phone call from the other party’s insurance company. You may speak to the claims adjuster, but do not give away any more information than is absolutely necessary. Do not record a statement or accept an insurance settlement offer until you speak to an attorney.
- Create a file.
Keep accident-related documents together and organized. Your file should include a copy of the police report, medical bills, the other driver’s information, injury treatment plans, and any other documents you’ve collected regarding the incident.
- Call California Injury Law Group at (888) 488-1391.
We offer free consultations, so you can discuss your car crash without risk or obligation. We can determine whether your case has merit, help you talk to insurance companies, and assist you in filing a personal injury claim if necessary.
Follow this checklist and you can come away from a disastrous car accident with hope for the future. You would have protected your rights, said nothing to place blame on yourself, and sought immediate medical attention for injuries. These are actions that can help should you need to file a claim with the California civil courts to pursue damage compensation. Speak with an attorney at California Injury Law Group as quickly as you wish after a crash. We can walk you through the process from beginning to end.
Texting and Driving
All drivers owe duties of care to everyone else on the roadway, including passengers in the vehicle, other drivers, and pedestrians. Drivers accept this responsibility when they get behind the wheel. These duties include obeying the rules of the road, driving safely, and reasonably preventing harm to others. Texting and driving is a significant breach of this duty, and can constitute negligence on a legal level. It is an unlawful act in California that can result in someone else’s serious injury or death. California Vehicle Code, Chapter 12 Section 23123.5, has three provisions regarding cell phone use:
- No handheld cell phones. No driver may use a handheld cell phone while operating a vehicle to make calls or for any other reason. This law applies to all persons driving in California, whether they live in the state or not.
- No hands-free cell phones for drivers under the age of 18. Drivers 18 and older may talk on hands-free devices or via speakerphone, as long as any earpieces do not cover both ears. Drivers under 18 cannot use hand-held or hands-free devices.
- No texting and driving. There is a separate law that bans texting, emailing, social media, and any other use of a wireless device while driving.
The only exceptions to these laws are if the driver is making an emergency phone call, operating a vehicle on private property, or is an emergency service professional. The law does not apply to factory-installed devices within the vehicle.
Texting and driving kills. If you have reason to believe another driver was illegally using a cell phone behind the wheel, speak to an attorney. The investigative team at California Injury Law Group can gain access to phone records as potential evidence in your case.
Drinking and Driving
Driving under the influence (DUI) is one of the most flagrant acts of recklessness a driver can commit. Despite knowing the dangers, thousands of drivers operate their vehicles after drinking alcohol every year. According to the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), 176,223 injury collisions occurred with drivers in 2015. A total of 17,390 collisions involved alcohol, and 12,776 had drunk drivers. There were 433,231 total collisions, injury and non-injury. Around 3,160 of these accidents were fatal. DUI cuts thousands of lives short every year.
If an intoxicated driver caused your accident, leading to serious injuries or the death of a loved one, don’t hesitate. Contact California Injury Law Group as soon as possible. Police likely conducted a breath, blood, or urine alcohol test directly following the collision, or at least a field sobriety test. You can use this as evidence of the other driver’s intoxication or inability to safely operate the vehicle. There may also be eyewitnesses that can attest to seeing the driver drinking before getting into the car, or driving erratically in the minutes leading up to the crash. You deserve to speak to a lawyer and thoroughly investigate your accident.
Car Accident Law
In our decades of practicing law, we’ve seen a wide range of car accident types and causes. We have the ability to assist you in an accident involving a road rage driver, a rear-end collision, whiplash injuries, catastrophic injury, and wrongful death. No matter what the circumstances of your car crash, you have options in front of you. Talking to an attorney before speaking to an insurance claims adjuster can give you all the information and confidence you need during this difficult time.
Speaking with an attorney is often the first step in getting your medical bills paid. Your accident may have left you with significant hospital costs, ambulance fees, surgeries, medical equipment, disability, rehabilitation, or live-in care. As the bills stack up, you might wonder when you’ll receive payment for your damages. An experienced California attorney can help move your case along with insurance companies or the judicial system, resulting in quicker payment for your bills.
In California, you have two years from the date of your accident or discovery of injuries to bring a claim. The sooner you call California Injury Law Group, however, the sooner you can start the process toward receiving compensation. Reach out to an attorney quickly to get your case moving. After a settlement negotiation or court verdict, you will receive a check in the agreed-upon amount. Then you can focus entirely on healing from your injuries.
Should I Hire an Attorney to Settle My Case?
While it’s technically possible to represent yourself in a car accident case, it is not the wisest course of action. Self-representation can put you at risk of making mistakes and missing your opportunity to recover for your damages. Negotiating with insurance claims adjusters is difficult and the stakes can be high. Protect your rights and your future by retaining an attorney to settle your case or take it to trial if need be. Our lawyers work on a contingency-fee basis, meaning you only pay attorneys’ fees if we win you a monetary award.
If you believe you have grounds to file a claim, retain a local LA attorney who can help you navigate car accident laws. California Injury Law Group has decades of experience throughout California, and has secured million-dollar settlements and verdicts for our clients. Our car accident team can investigate your crash, identify the potential defendant(s), and file your claim with the civil court system as quickly as possible. Don’t delay – you’re just a phone call away from learning your legal options. Call (888) 488-1391 or get in touch online to schedule a free case evaluation.