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What to Do After a Car Accident

Home » What to Do After a Car Accident
January 02, 2018
Edward Smith


What to Do After a Car Accident

I’m Ed Smith, a car accident lawyer in Stockton. Motor vehicle accidents can be stressful events, especially if an injury or death occurs as a result. Knowing what to do after a car accident can be helpful.

Keep a List Handy

Maintaining a list of what to do if involved in a crash can be helpful so that nothing will be forgotten. Keeping notes of the accident, including contact information of the other driver, helps when resolving a claim. While some people might prefer placing the information on their cell phone, carrying a notebook and pencil or pen in the glove compartment can be a useful way to jot important information down.

Stay at the Scene of the Crash

Leaving the scene of an accident can result in a hit and run violation, even if no injuries occurred. According to the California Department of Motor Vehicles, the accident should be reported right away if any injuries or a death occurred or if property damage costing $750 or more happens. The law enforcement officers you call depends upon where the accident happened. Call the California Highway Patrol (CHP) if the accident happened along the highway. Otherwise, contact the local authorities or sheriff’s office that holds jurisdiction.

Stay Safe at the Scene of the Crash

Place emergency flares out, and put the vehicle’s flashers on. If the vehicle is in danger of being struck by oncoming traffic or interferes with traffic, it might be a good idea to move it to the shoulder of the road. If it is too dangerous to move the vehicle or it can’t be moved, stay inside if necessary and be sure your seat belt is fastened. When possible, exit the vehicle when it is safe to do so, and wait by the side of the road for help.

Check for Injuries

Check not only yourself and the passengers in your vehicle but the people in the other vehicle/vehicles for injuries. Call for medical assistance if needed.

Exchange of Information

According to the California Department of Insurance, the names, phone numbers and addresses of the drivers should be exchanged. Remember to also get the identification numbers of the vehicles and numbers on the license plates. In addition, get names, phone numbers and addresses of all the passengers in the vehicles and of any witnesses to the crash. Jot down the information about the crash that was supplied by witnesses. This may be important later.

Collecting Evidence

Take photos of the crashed cars, including any damage, position of the vehicles and other pertinent information. This may include marks left on the road such as skid marks, traffic signs and other information that may help determine fault.

Notifying Your Attorney and Insurance Agent

Phone your attorney, if you have one, and explain what happened. Afterward, call your insurance agent. Tell your attorney the truth, but do not apologize to the other parties involved in the accident or to an insurance adjuster. This can be misconstrued as an admission of guilt. Those with an attorney may wish for their lawyer to handle any questions related to the accident.

Seek Medical Care

Even if you think you are fine, it is a good idea to see a physician or go to an emergency room so that your accident is documented. Not all injuries present themselves right away but may take several days to appear. Injuries that don’t necessarily present right away can include brain injuries. Other significant injuries include neck injuries and abdominal trauma.

Car Accident Lawyer in Stockton

I’m Ed Smith, a car accident lawyer in Stockton. When your car accident was caused by another driver’s negligence, you may need the assistance of an experienced injury lawyer to recover damages. For friendly, free advice, give me a call at (209) 227-1931. You can also reach out to me at (800) 404-5400.

As a forum member of Million Dollar Advocates, I belong to a group of top trial attorneys who have successfully garnered verdicts or settlements of $1 million or more for previous clients.

You can review what others have said about my law practice at:

The verdicts and settlements page on my website,, carries a helpful list of some of my prior cases.

I am proud to have represented many injury victims from Stockton and San Joaquin County over my 35 years as a personal injury lawyer. Whether it is a wrongful death or some type of catastrophic injury, I work hard to obtain just compensation for my clients.

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