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Top 5 Things You Need to Do Immediately After an Accident
Steps to Take After an Accident
There are few things more traumatizing than being involved in an accident, especially if you or a loved
one has sustained injury. And, despite the best efforts of California’s Office of Traffic Safety, serious traffic
injuries have increased 7.8% in the last several years. It’s essential you know what to do after an accident
to ensure you’re protected both physically and legally. In the San Diego, California area, turn to Benner
Law Firm for reliable guidance for all personal injury claims.
If you’ve already experienced an accident and failed to take one of these steps, don’t worry. Our clients
come to us in all stages of a personal injury claim and we can help no matter where you’re at.
Step 1: Safety and Medical Care
- Take Care of Yourself: Seek medical care even if you don’t feel injured. Injuries can show up
days or even weeks after an accident. Additionally, if you wait to seek medical care, insurance
companies can use this delay to refuse your claim.
- Keep All Documents: Retain a copy of the doctor’s report and bills for your insurance claim.
Step 2: Call the Police
Always contact the police after an accident (with the exception of minor fender-benders). Under California
law, you are required to call the police if anyone has sustained an injury.
Step 3: Documentation
It can be difficult to keep a level head in the middle of an accident scene, but it’s important to get all
necessary information as soon as possible:
- Other driver’s info: Full name, contact info, and insurance. If possible, take a picture of the other
driver’s license, insurance card, license plate, and any damage.
- Witnesses: If there were witnesses, get their contact information since the police or insurance
company may question them about the accident.
- Police report: Obtain a copy of the police report from the local police records division. Get the
name and badge number of any officers who were on the scene.
- Medical: After your medical checkup, keep a copy of the doctor’s report to include in your
- Your own account: Memories fade over time, so either write down or record your full account of
what happened as soon after the accident as you can.
Step 4: Notify Insurance
In California, you need to report accidents to your insurance carrier within 24 hours. Don’t assume the
other driver will do it—you both should report it. In California you also have to report accidents to the DMV
within ten days that resulted in personal injury or over $750 in damages.
Step 5: Hire an Attorney
Unfortunately, it’s not always easy to get your medical and property claims paid in full through insurance
companies. If you’re in San Diego county including Chula Vista, Escondido, El Cajon, or Oceanside, we
can help you seek the financial compensation you deserve.
There are a number of pitfalls you could run into trying to finalize your settlement:
- Uninsured Driver: If the other driver was uninsured, you have the option to sue them for
damages and/or have your own insurance cover the cost.
- Consider All Costs: The total costs of your accident are likely higher than just your medical or
auto bills. Additional costs may include personal property that was inside the car, time missed
from work, or lost childcare.
- Make Sure Medical Costs are Final: Injuries sustained from car accidents can have lasting
effects. Have a clear idea of future medical costs and have them written out by your doctor.
- Low First Settlement Offer: Insurance companies don’t like paying out claims, and they’ll often
send a low initial offer. This is where an attorney with experience in personal injury can help push
back and negotiate a better deal.
- Statute of Limitations: Report the accident to your insurance provider and the DMV on time,
and get immediate medical care. The longer you wait, the higher the chances that the other
driver’s insurance company will use this as evidence against you.
Benner Law Firm: Experience You Can Trust
If you’ve been in an accident that caused personal injury or extensive property damage, call us today to
speak with an experienced and trustworthy partner. At Benner Law Firm in San Diego, we’ll give you the
personal attention and care you deserve.
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