There are many highways in California, and many cars that travel along those highways on any given day. You might use those highways to get to work each day. If so, you might find yourself getting in an accident. Of course, a California car wreck can also occur on a quiet side street.
You should understand what to do after a California car accident. Let’s talk about the basic steps right now.
After a car accident, your emotions might be running high. You may feel confused and uncertain about what to do next. Try to get control over yourself by taking a few deep breaths. You’re trying to slow down the adrenaline that is no doubt coursing through your veins.
If you can steer the car off the road, you’ll need to do that next. If you are not physically able to do so, wait for medical help to come to you. If you can, you might use your smartphone to call 911 so an ambulance will come. This is why it’s always useful to have your phone with you when you take your car for a drive.
Check to See if the Other Driver and Your Passengers Are Okay
You should see if your passengers are okay at this point. You can also check on the other driver to see if there is any way that you can help them before the ambulance and the police arrive.
It’s possible you might feel angry at the other driver if you think that what happened was clearly their fault. Even if that does prove to be true later, now is not the time to yell or gesture at them. You’re trying to stay calm and keep the other driver calm as well.
It could be that they start yelling at you or saying threatening things. If so, distance yourself from them. You can get back in your car, lock the door, and wait until the police arrive so they can separate you two.
Start Taking Pictures and Video
Now would be the time when you can start documenting the scene however you can. If you do have your smartphone with you, you can take some videos of the car crash site, including the street and traffic, weather conditions, what your car looks like, and what the other driver’s vehicle looks like as well. You can definitely get some video or pictures of their license plate and insurance information if they have it on them.
The more documentation you can get at this stage, the better it is for you. All of that might come in handy later if you decide to sue the other driver or they want to bring a lawsuit against you instead. If the other driver objects to you taking video of them, you might have to stop, but remember that you have no obligation to do so.
Tell the Police What Happened
When the police arrive, you can give them a detailed description of what happened. Make sure to accommodate them and don’t be rude to them. They are there to help you, and cooperating at this stage is essential.
You will need to tell the police your name and all your insurance information, and you will have to give them your driver’s license and license plate numbers. Don’t lie to the police about what happened, but you should also not speculate about whose fault you think it was.
Next, you can either drive home once the police say you can, or else you can call for a taxi or Uber if your car is not capable of operating anymore. If that’s what’s happening, you’ll also need to call a tow truck so they can come get your vehicle and take it to the auto body shop for repairs.
Maybe the tow truck can give you a lift back to your place. However you get home, you need to get back so you can call your insurance company.
Contact Your Insurance Company
You’ll next need to contact your insurance provider to tell them what happened. You can fill them in on all the details, but again, don’t speculate about whose fault it was.
You can then start thinking about whether you should hire a lawyer or not. You may decide to hire one if you feel like you’re going to sue the other driver or you feel it’s likely they will sue you instead.