| Read Time: 3 minutes | Car Accidents

Some people are just really good under pressure or in crises. Even if you are cool as a cucumber following a vehicle collision, you may be unclear on what to do after a car accident in California. If you’ve recently experienced a car accident in Santa Maria, California, you’re likely grappling with a whirlwind of uncertainties. From dealing with insurance claims to understanding your legal rights, navigating the aftermath of a car accident can be overwhelming. In this guide, we’ll walk you through the essential steps after a car accident in California, providing compassionate and informative insights to help you through this challenging time.

California – What to Do After a Car Accident

The moments immediately following a car accident can be disorienting, but it’s crucial to remain as calm as possible and prioritize safety above all else. Here’s what to do after an auto accident in California:

Check for Injuries

Before anything else, check yourself and others involved in the accident for injuries. If anyone is injured, call 911 immediately for medical assistance.

Contact Law Enforcement

Even if the accident seems minor, it’s important to contact the police and file a report. This documentation can be invaluable when dealing with insurance claims and legal proceedings later on.

Exchange Information

Exchange contact and insurance information with the other parties involved in the accident. Gather names, phone numbers, addresses, license plate numbers, and insurance policy details.

Document the Scene

Take photographs of the accident scene, including vehicle damage, skid marks, and any relevant road signs or signals. This visual evidence can support your insurance claim or legal case.

Notify Your Insurance Company

Please notify your insurance company promptly of the accident. However, do not admit fault or provide detailed statements until you have consulted with an attorney.

Dealing with Insurance Claims

California is an at-fault insurance state, which means that the person who was at fault for the accident is responsible for covering the damage caused. Generally, this liability extends to their insurance company, which will offer the injured party a settlement to cover the harm. Navigating insurance claims can be complex, especially in the aftermath of a car accident. Here are some important tips to keep in mind:

  • Do Not Imply Liability – Avoid making statements that could imply fault or liability for the accident. Stick to providing factual information about the incident without assigning blame.
  • Do Not Accept an Unfair Settlement – Insurance companies may offer quick settlement offers, but these initial offers are often lower than what you may be entitled to. Consult with a knowledgeable attorney to assess the true value of your claim.
  • Let an Attorney Negotiate – Consider enlisting the help of a skilled car accident attorney to negotiate with the insurance company on your behalf. An experienced attorney can advocate for your rights and work to secure fair compensation for your injuries and damages.

When considering what to do after a car accident in California, contacting your insurance company should be at the top of the list. Insurance companies are not known for providing maximum compensation to injured parties, but you deserve a settlement that covers the current and future impact of what you have been through. 

Pursuing Legal Action

In some cases, legal action may be necessary to recover full and fair compensation for your losses. When determining what to do after a car accident in California, it is important to understand that an experienced attorney will be your best resource to strategize the best path forward. California law allows accident victims to seek damages through personal injury lawsuits, but it’s essential to understand the relevant statutes and legal principles:

Comparative Negligence

California follows a comparative negligence system, which means that each party’s degree of fault will be considered when determining liability and compensation. Even if you were partially at fault for the accident, you may still be entitled to recover damages proportionate to the other party’s negligence.

Statute of Limitations

It’s important to know the statute of limitations for filing a personal injury lawsuit in California. In most cases, you have two years from the accident date to file a claim. Failing to file within this time frame could result in forfeiting your right to seek compensation.

What to Do After a Car Accident in California

If you’ve been involved in a car accident in Santa Maria, California, the Frederick Law Firm is here to help you navigate the complexities of the legal process. Our compassionate team of attorneys has extensive experience representing accident victims and fighting for the justice they deserve. Don’t face the aftermath of a car accident alone.

Contact Us

Contact us today for a free consultation and let us help you seek the compensation you’re entitled to.

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