Getting involved in a car accident can be a traumatic experience, leading to potential physical injuries, mental stress, and financial burdens. You may feel unsure and have difficulties navigating the aftermath of such an event. If you are wondering what to do after a car accident, we have prepared 10 essential steps you must take after the crash.

Step 1: Stay calm and composed

The aftermath of a car accident is distressing. At this stage, you are filled with mixed emotions like shock, guilt, fear, or anger. While such feelings are normal, staying calm and composed is essential to handle the situation effectively.

Keeping your composure enables you to approach the situation rationally and minimize the risk of conflicts with other parties.

Note that it is crucial to refrain from exhibiting any aggressive behavior. Instead, direct your focus on your immediate concern, checking for injuries.

Step 2: Check for injury and ensure safety

Safety is the top priority, so always check for injuries and take safety precautions. Even if you have seemingly minor injuries, seek medical help. Some injuries may not manifest immediately, but once you discover them, seek a doctor immediately. Untreated injuries can pose future health risks.

Call 911 if you or the passenger you are carrying is severely injured. Wait for the help to arrive. Move the vehicle to the side of the road if it is safe to drive. This is to ensure safety for yourself and the road users. You can activate hazard lights and use cones, warning triangles, or flares if available.

In case your car is going to explode or pose any threat, call a professional to relocate the car to a safe spot.

Step 3: Call for help

Again, for any emergency help, call 911 or the state’s designated number for assistance.

The dispatcher may need some information when they respond to you. They will ask you for Information like your name, contact details, details about the emergency, and the exact location. It is advisable to stay on the line until the dispatcher instructs you to hang up. In some critical situations, you might be required to stay on the call until the help team arrives.

Note that calling the police is important, even for minor car accidents. Their role in documenting accidents is pivotal for easing the claim process and determining fault.

Step 4: Report the accident

Car accidents require a detailed investigation immediately. Reporting the accident is crucial for ascertaining responsibility, losses, and damage.

So, make sure you promptly report the accident to the relevant authority for an official report. The report can help you build a strong case and serve as evidence when seeking compensation. Police reports can work as admissible evidence in court in case you initiate a lawsuit.

Step 5: Gather information

Documenting a car accident properly will notably improve your case. So, obtaining all the necessary details after an accident is crucial.

Some of the crucial details are:


  • Name and insurance details of the other driver,
  • Contact details,
  • License plate numbers,
  • Location of a crash
  • Vehicle details, etc.

Step 6: Collect evidence

Evidence is critical for a strong legal case. You can collect proofs like photographs of the site and other involved vehicles.

Collect personal information like name, address, and contact details from your eyewitness. Don’t force them to do so if they are unwilling to share their details. Your lawyer will handle this part later.

Step 7: Do not discuss liability

You must refrain from roadside discussions regarding the responsibilities and liabilities of the accident. Also, you should refuse to admit fault after an accident, which could diminish your compensation or even nullify it. Allow the law enforcement officer or an insurance company to determine the responsibilities based on evidence.

Step 8: Inform insurance company

The other parties involved in the accident may claim against you, so proactively informing your insurer and initiating a claim is important. This is regardless of who is at fault, even if you don’t want to make a claim.

Step 9: Keep records

You must keep the details of medical and repair costs and other potential expenses for the recovery. Likewise, you need to document the details and contacts of everyone involved. Keeping up the records helps to assess your case and determine the compensation you deserve.

Step 10: Talk to the lawyer

Car accidents usually leave you vulnerable. Immediately after the accident, you still determine your legal rights and options. The insurance company can take advantage of your circumstances and settle with less compensation during this time.

Here comes the role of car accident lawyers, who are experts in handling such cases.

If you have been a part of a Sacramento car accident, contact a skilled Sacramento car accident attorney at the Law Offices Of J.G Winter. From the complexities of insurance claims to personal injury litigation, we can guide you throughout the process.

Car accident lawyers at JG Winter Law have expertise in car accident lawsuits. We know the laws and can offer comprehensive legal support customized to your needs. Contact us today.

FAQs on what to do after a car accident

What to do after an accident that is not my fault?

Even if you’re not responsible for an accident, you must still initiate a claim with your insurance provider. In some states, the other driver’s insurance might cover the repairs if they’re at fault. However, in no-fault states, both insurers must pay the compensation, irrespective of the fault. Remember that legal liability is determined only after an investigation, so do not assume who is at fault. Also, Knowing when to sue someone personally after a car accident is important.

What to do after an accident that is my fault?

Immediately after an accident you believe is your fault, follow the same steps described above and file a claim with your insurance company. Although you think you are at fault, the insurance adjuster will determine legal liability after their investigation. If you have comprehensive and collision coverage, your insurance may cover repairs regardless of fault.

What is the statute of limitations for filing a car accident lawsuit in Sacramento?

The statute of limitations for filing a car accident claim in California is 2 years from the date of the injury. If you cross the provided deadline, your claim might get discharged.

What are the common causes of a car accident?

The most common causes of car accidents are overspeeding, rash driving, traffic law violations, driving under the influence and more. Such an accident can cause minor to major injuries.

How much compensation will I get after a car accident?

The compensation you get from a car accident settlement depends on the nature of your accident and injuries. However, you can get compensation for all your damages, including pain and suffering. Consult an attorney for an estimate.

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