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What should you do after a car accident?

When you get up in the morning, you get ready for you day, grab your keys and start your car. Though you know driving is dangerous, you get behind the wheel on a daily basis. Most days, even years, you do so safely. So, when you get involved in a car accident, you may not know what to do.

If you are involved in a motor vehicle accident, take a moment to think before getting out of your car. You may not realize what happened at first, so taking a couple breaths can help you regain your bearings.

Steps to take after a collision

After an accident, try to remain calm. There are certain steps you should take, which may include:

  1. Check yourself and your passengers for injuries. Once you have a basic understanding of the injuries suffered by those inside your vehicle, you can attend to the other driver.
  2. Call for help. This may include law enforcement and tow trucks, though the police or California Highway Patrol will likely determine what calls are necessary. They can also help reroute traffic while they deal with your accident site.
  3. Exchange information with the other driver. This will include your driver’s license and insurance information. A citation or fine may be possible if you do not give your current and accurate information to the others involved.
  4. Report your accident to the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). In California, you must report your accident within 10 days if someone was injured or killed, or if damages exceed $1,000.
  5. Seek medical attention. Not all injuries present symptoms right away. In fact, it could be days or weeks before you experience the onset of pain associated with injuries such as whiplash, fractures or minor brain injuries. Seeking immediate medical attention provides assurance that your injuries are discovered and well-documented. When it comes time to file an insurance claim, this will be helpful in getting your medical bills covered.

You may refer to the DMV’s Accident Guide for more information about what you need to do after an accident. Otherwise, speaking with an attorney can help you make an informed decision about your accident and whether legal action is necessary to seek additional compensation.

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