We call it an accident because it’s something that happens in an instant, with zero planning or anticipation. You might not be able to control someone else’s actions in the lead up to your accident, but you can control how you react to one.
In this article we’ll look at what to do after an accident. Your decisions in the days and weeks after your injury will either make it easier or more difficult to hold the at-fault party accountable.
These insights are based on the experience that The May Firm has gained while successfully representing accident victims in California.
If you were in a car accident in California:
You need to remain at the scene of the accident, but you should find a safe place to await help. You should limit your movement as much as possible, in case you have a spinal injury – excessive movement can make these types of injuries much worse.
If you ask a car accident lawyer what to do after an accident, they will tell you that you need to accept medical treatment. There are two reasons for this: (1) Your injuries can get worse the longer you delay treatment, and (2) the physician’s report will serve as strong evidence of the injuries you sustained in your accident.
The other important thing that a car accident attorney will tell you to do is report the accident to police. Even in a minor accident, reporting the accident to the police will create an official record by a reputable third-party. Accident reports can serve as an important factor in determining who was at-fault for an accident.
Accidents involving small children
The World Health Organization (WHO) produces the “Children and Road Traffic Injury” report. The data shows that more than 260,000 children lose their lives around the world every year in motor vehicle accidents.
While the focus of this article is on steps to take after an accident, we think it’s important to remind drivers to carefully follow every California car seat law. Every accident is tragic, but we should do everything in our power to avoid losing the lives of humans who have so much life left to live.
If you were in an accident involving a small child, ensure they are immediately treated by a physician following the accident. You need to serve as their advocate, because they probably aren’t able to clearly explain what’s wrong.
If you were in a motorcycle accident in California:
Figuring out what to do after an accident involving a motorcycle can be even more stressful. Motorcycles do not provide their riders with very much protection. When a two-ton hunk of metal, plastic and glass slams into a biker, riders are left to deal with serious injuries.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recently published Traffic Safety Facts based on the analysis of data from 2017 (most recent available). The report tells a tragic story: 5,172 motorcyclists lost their lives in accidents that year. This number represents 14% of the total car accident fatalities in 2017, which is staggering because motorcycles only represent 3% of the registered vehicles in the United States.
If you ask a motorcycle accident lawyer what to do after an accident, the advice will be similar to the advice we offer after a car accident:
- Get to a safe place nearby and call for help.
- Take careful mental notes about your surroundings, the people involved and the moments leading up to the accident.
- Exchange information with all of the parties involved in your accident, including witnesses.
- Avoid making statements that make it sound like you feel you were at fault for the accident. Even saying, “I’m sorry this happened.” can be used by the other party(s) to unfairly shift blame away from themselves.
Seek legal advice from a trusted source.
Every accident is unique. Whether you tripped and fell because of a poorly maintained space or you were hit by someone else in an automotive accident, The May Firm has the experience and resources required to help you seek justice.
Searching on google for advice on what to do after an accident is a natural first step, but the advice you receive from an experienced accident lawyer will give you the best chance of making the right decisions to protect your family’s financial future.
You can receive high-quality legal advice for free if your accident occurred in California. The May Firm provides free personal injury consultations. We’ll set up a time for you to meet in-person with a California accident attorney with experience handling personal injury claims like yours.