Steven M. Sweat, APC Articles What to do at the scene of an accident?

What to do at the scene of an accident?

By Steven M. Sweat  Aug. 4, 2016 1:34p

Being involved in a car accident is not something that anyone wishes to do. Statistically speaking, though, you have a one in three chance of being in a wreck as a driver or passenger sometime in your lifetime and a one in five chance of being involved in more than one crash during your life.

As with all "disaster scenarios", being prepared and staying calm can make all the difference in how a car accident affects you. As a Los Angeles car accident lawyer for the past 20 years, I have represented hundreds of persons injured in motor vehicle collisions. Here are some helpful tips on what to do following a car crash that may help you later on.

  1. Stay Calm: Obviously, when you are struck by an oncoming vehicle and hear the shatter of glass, you become disoriented. Trying to stay calm and regain your senses is crucial to determining if you or any passengers in your vehicle are hurt and need immediate medical attention. Call 911 if this is the case.
  2. Never Admit Fault: Legal fault for a car accident is often not easily determined just following the incident. In the shock of the immediate aftermath, you may want to apologize for causing the incident when, in fact, you are not accurately recalling the exact sequence of events. Always tell the truth to law enforcement officials but, only state the facts that you saw, heard or felt. Don't speculate as to things that "may have happened." Let the police analyze your statements, the statements of other drivers and witnesses, the accident scene itself and make their own conclusions.
  3. Obtain Information and Documentation: Every state, including California, requires anyone involved in a motor vehicle collision to stop and provide certain information. In CA, for example, drivers are required to provide their license and insurance information to all other drivers involved in the incident. Photographing the position of the vehicles before they are moved, skid marks, debris and the overall layout of the scene is also a good idea. Click here for a detailed guide on documenting a car accident with a smartphone .
  4. Seek Prompt Medical Attention for Injuries: Whether you are transported by an ambulance or not, it is usually a good idea to go to the Emergency Room or your family doctor on the same day of the incident or shortly therafter. Delays in seeking medical attention can not only affect prompt diagnosis and treatment but, may also affect the value of your bodily injury claim later. Insurance companies are always looking for an excuse not to pay. One common argument they use is, "If they were really hurt, they would have gone to see a doctor sooner!"
  5. Report the Incident to Insurance: Whether the incident is your fault of the fault of another person, every insurance policy has a duty to promptly report any claims. (Subject to #5)
  6. Get the Advice of An Accident Attorney: It is always best to get the advice of an attorney as soon as possible following an auto accident. If the lawyer feels that your claim has merit, he or she will usually agree to come into the case and notify all insurance carriers of his or her representation. This puts a "buffer" between you and insurance adjusters who are, oftentimes, looking to get you to do or say certain things "on the record" that may be used against you in a later claim. Retaining a lawyer promptly also provides immediate help with all aspects of processing the claims and allows you peace of mind to simply seek medical treatment and get better!

For a free consultation on any auto accident claim in California call our injury helpline at 866-252-0735 or visit us on the web at:

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