Those immediate seconds after another driver smashes into your car can be tense, confusing, and downright frightening.

If you are traveling alone when an accident happens, you need to assess your condition. You also may need to determine if you can free yourself from the wreckage or if you are in imminent danger.  If you have passengers, you have to consider the welfare of the other occupants of the car. It can be especially tense if you are traveling with infants or young children who may not be able to help themselves in this time of panic.

Basically, everything happens in the blink of an eye.

What happens next can have a major impact on whether or not someone is financially responsible for your injuries and damage to your vehicle.  Some of the factors you may not consider minutes after the crash while staring at your totaled car include lost wages, medical bills, and other emotional anguish.

Rawlins Law, a San Diego personal injury law firm, wants to make sure you know what to do when you are the victim of a violent automobile accident.

Pull Over Safely

If you are in a crash, the best thing you can do is pull your vehicle over to safety.  If your car cannot drive, stay inside the car and wait for help to arrive. Also, determine if the other driver has stayed at the scene.

Call 911

If you believe you or anyone else involved in the crash is seriously injured, the best thing you can do is call paramedics and police by dialing 9-1-1.  Because of the chaos and confusion that happens in the moments after the crash, some people don’t even realize they are badly hurt. Other times, victims can’t recognize head or chest injuries that aren’t immediately visible.  By calling emergency services, you get treatment for yourself or one of your passengers immediately.

Engage in Minimal Conversation with the Other Party

Beyond checking if the other drivers are hurt, or responding to their questions as to whether or not you are injured, we recommend limiting your conversation with the other party.  Certainly, you want to exchange license, registration, and insurance information, but keep tight-lipped after that. Also, take photos of the license plate and the other driver’s license. Because you may be injured, you may not be thinking clearly, which in turn, may have you saying something you don’t want to say.  The best thing you can do is wait for an impartial help or witnesses to arrive.

Keep the Scene Intact and Take Lots of Photos

We are fortunate to live in a society where smartphones enable us to always have a camera near.  If you are not seriously injured, we suggest taking lots of photos of the scene, your car, the intersection, the road conditions, the other driver, and their car – including license plate – and anything else that would capture what the elements were like when the crash happened.  While it may be tough to document what happened, this could make a tremendous difference down the road – especially if the driver admits being at fault at the scene, then all of the sudden has a change of heart down the road.

Take Notes

If it takes a while for police and paramedics to arrive and you have clarity and a good recollection of what happened, we recommend you take notes on your cell phone.  Just jotting down some of the details as you recall them or the names and information of some of the witnesses can protect you and help your case down the road. There’s no such thing as too many details, so be thorough in your descriptions.

See a doctor

If the paramedics check you out and they believe you are not injured, they will move on after assessing you.  This does not mean you have a clean bill of health and got through the accident injury-free. We recommend visiting the doctor very quickly after an accident.  Doctors can run a thorough battery of tests to make sure you are not suffering from any internal bleeding, concussion symptoms, or injuries not seen by the naked eye.  Many people hesitate to go see a doctor right after a crash, mostly because they don’t have health insurance. If this if your situation, call Rawlins Law immediately, and we will help you see a doctor.  No money, no insurance, no problem.

Call Rawlins Law

The earlier you talk with legal representation, the better.  Rawlins Law fights for car crash victims, and by establishing your relationship with our attorney office earlier, we get a better jump on your case. If you or a loved one have been in a crash, reach out and talk to Rawlins Law.  Firm founder Ashley Rawlins provides honest, ethical, and compassionate representation, and she will give you clear information on where your case stands and what she needs from you to win it! To schedule a free consultation, please call the Rawlins Firm at 858-257-8778.

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