Auto Accident

What Should You Do in the Event of Being in a Car Crash?

Close up of a wrecked car's front bumper

Table of Contents

I. Introduction

II. Don't Panic

III. Stay Where You Are or Move to Safety?

IV. Check Yourself for Injuries

V. Take Photos of the Property and Vehicles

VI. Collect Information About the Other Car

VII. Make It a Priority to Find Witnesses

VIII. Call Your Lawyer and Insurance Company

IX. Get Medical Attention

X. The Bottom Line



A car crash can happen in many ways. It occurs when a driver makes a mistake and drives their car into a stationary object or another vehicle.

It is essential to keep your wits about you, especially regarding the other party involved in the crash. Again, if you panicked, take a few breaths to calm yourself before talking to the other driver. If you cannot do so, it is best to find a police officer on the scene and have them act as a mediator while you get a hold of your emotions.

If possible, you should also obtain the names and contact information of witnesses to the car accident. Injuries sustained in car accidents often come about because of a chain reaction of events that was not your fault. You need witnesses who can vouch for this to help you fight for the full compensation you deserve for your injuries.

Today, let's explore some essential things you should do in the event of being in a car crash. Here's what you need to know:

Car being towed after suffering an accident.
Image by gdbaker from Pixabay

Don't Panic

When it comes to a car crash, a lot of emotion can come into play. Letting your emotions get the best of you will make things more complicated. You should try to keep your wits about you and your head clear. If anyone is seriously injured, call 911 immediately. Your safety and the safety of others should be your top priority. If you feel you will panic, it's best to try and take a few deep breaths, calm yourself down, and wait until the accident spot clears before you move forward. If a police officer is on the scene, try to find them and have them act as mediators. There may be witnesses who can help you if your insurance company tries to be complicated.

Stay Where You Are or Move to Safety?

The decision of whether to stay at the accident scene or move your car to a safer location depends on the specific context, and safety should always be your top priority. Let's consider a couple of scenarios to illustrate this:

  1. Highway Collision: If you find yourself in a car accident on a busy highway where vehicles are traveling at high speeds, it is generally advisable to move your car to the emergency lane or shoulder if it can be done safely. This action helps prevent further collisions and reduces the risk of injury to you and others. However, if there are serious injuries, call 911 immediately and follow their instructions. In such cases, safety and prompt medical attention are paramount.
  2. Less Busy Road: On a less busy road with lower traffic volume, you may have the time to call emergency services and document the scene by taking photos before moving your vehicles. This can be crucial for insurance claims and legal purposes.

In either case, the decision should ultimately be based on your judgment of the situation, but always prioritize safety above all else. Keep in mind that regardless of whether you move your vehicles, reconstruction specialists can later reconstruct the scene to determine liability.

If possible and when time permits, consider taking photographs of the accident scene before moving the cars. These photos can serve as valuable evidence.

If the other driver involved in the accident leaves the scene without exchanging information, make sure to inform the police immediately. They can investigate the driver's identity and take appropriate action.

Additionally, it's a good idea to obtain a police report by calling 911, especially if you anticipate that your insurance company might dispute the incident or if you foresee potential complications in dealing with the situation. A police report can provide an official record of the accident, which can be helpful in the claims process.

Police and emergency responders arriving on car accident scene.
Image by Romy from Pixabay

Check Yourself for Injuries

After securing the accident scene, it is crucial to check yourself for injuries, especially in the case of a serious accident. Quick movements can potentially worsen injuries, so proceed with caution. Here are some steps to consider:

1. Assess for Serious Injuries: Be mindful of any signs of serious injuries, such as Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI), spinal injuries, or internal injuries. Ensure you can move lightly and nothing feels severely wrong before making any rapid movements.

2. Inspect for External Injuries: Examine yourself for any visible injuries, such as bleeding, scratches, or burns. If you notice any of these, take immediate steps to treat them:

For bleeding, apply pressure to the wound with a clean cloth or bandage to control bleeding.

Rinse minor scratches with clean water and apply an antiseptic if available.

For burns, cool the affected area with cold, running water for at least 10 minutes and cover it with a clean, non-stick bandage.

3. Seek Medical Attention: Even if you don't initially feel any injuries, it is advisable to go to the hospital after an accident, especially if it was a moderate to severe collision. Injuries can be hidden, and their symptoms may not manifest immediately. It's best not to leave any potential injuries unchecked.

4. Call 911 for Assistance: In addition to contacting the police, call 911 to request assistance from paramedics and, if necessary, firefighters. Paramedics can provide immediate medical care, assess injuries, and transport you to the hospital if needed. Firefighters can assist in case of fires or if you are trapped inside the car's carriage.

Remember that your safety and well-being are of paramount importance. If you are unable to drive due to injuries or other reasons, consider calling a friend or family member to pick you up from the scene. While waiting for help, you can also gather information from witnesses over the phone.

Firefighters prying open a car carriage to help car accident victim.
Image by Romy from Pixabay

Take Photos of the Property and Vehicles

When documenting the accident scene, it's essential to gather comprehensive evidence. Follow these steps to ensure you capture all relevant information:

  1. Photograph the Entire Scene: Take photographs of the entire accident scene, ensuring you capture all pertinent details. This should include:
  2. Damages to the vehicles involved, from multiple angles.
  3. Skid marks or debris on the road.
  4. Weather conditions, such as rain, snow, or fog.
  5. Road conditions, including potholes or uneven surfaces.
  6. Street signs, traffic signals, or any relevant road markings.
  7. License plates of all vehicles involved.
  8. Any other contextual information that may have contributed to the accident.
  9. Create a Video Recording: If possible, make a video recording of the scene. A video provides a dynamic, continuous view that can be invaluable as evidence. Ensure the video is steady and encompasses the entire scene, including all vehicles and relevant details. Avoid unnecessary commentary or confrontation.
  10. Remain Calm and Avoid Conflict: It's crucial to remain calm and avoid escalating any situation unnecessarily. If any of the parties involved become aggressive or confrontational, it's best to keep a safe distance, await the arrival of authorities, and continue recording. Road rage incidents can contribute to accidents, and having a record of the situation can be helpful.

By thoroughly documenting the scene with photos and videos while maintaining composure, you can gather crucial evidence that may assist insurance claims and legal proceedings related to the accident.

Collect Information About the Other Car

Collecting information from the other driver involved in the accident is an essential step in the process. Here's how to gather relevant details while maintaining a respectful and non-confrontational approach:

  1. Driver Information: If the other driver is cooperative, try to obtain the following information:
  2. Full name
  3. Contact phone number
  4. Address
  5. Insurance Information: Ask for their insurance details, including:
  6. Insurance company name
  7. Policy number
  8. Contact information for their insurance company, such as a claims phone number
  9. Vehicle Information: Examine their vehicle and document the following:
  10. License plate number
  11. Make and model of the car
  12. Color of the car
  13. Any visible damages to their vehicle
  14. Avoid Confrontation: While interacting with the other driver, remain calm and avoid confrontation. Do not engage in arguments, assign blame, or admit fault. It's crucial to maintain a civil and non-confrontational demeanor.
  15. Do Not Apologize: Be cautious about what you say. Avoid making statements that could be interpreted as an admission of guilt. Even saying "I'm sorry" can be misconstrued, so it's best to limit conversation to exchanging necessary information.

Remember that when the police arrive, they will take over the handling of the situation. Your primary goal during this interaction is to gather the necessary information while ensuring your safety and avoiding any physical altercations.

Car accident scene with bystanders police and victims all communicating.
Image by pimgmoon from Pixabay

Make It a Priority to Find Witnesses

Making an effort to find and involve witnesses can significantly strengthen your case in the event of an accident. Here's how to approach this important step:

  1. Contact Your Insurance Company: As soon as possible, get in touch with your insurance company to inform them about the accident. This step ensures that they are aware of the situation and can send an insurance adjuster to the scene as a witness. Having an insurance adjuster as a witness can provide an impartial account of the accident.
  2. Seek Eyewitnesses: Politely approach individuals who may have witnessed the accident. Kindly ask for their information, including their names and contact details. Being courteous and respectful can go a long way when requesting their assistance.
  3. Witnesses' Value in Court: Witnesses can be instrumental in court proceedings. They can provide firsthand accounts of the accident, helping to establish liability. Their testimonies can be crucial in supporting your case, especially if you need to file a lawsuit against the other driver. Their unbiased recollections can help demonstrate that the other driver was at fault.
  4. Consider Expert Witnesses: In some cases, expert witnesses can provide valuable insights. These experts may include:
  5. Doctors who can testify about your injuries and their impact.
  6. Accident reconstruction specialists who can recreate the accident scene.
  7. Medical emergency teams who can describe the immediate response to the accident.
  8. Police officers who can provide their perspective on the incident.

Expert witnesses can offer professional opinions and expertise that may further strengthen your case, particularly if you are not liable for the accident.

Incorporating witnesses, both eyewitnesses and experts, can play a pivotal role in the outcome of your case and help ensure that you receive fair compensation for the damages and injuries you've suffered.

People with phones exhanging information.
Image by Dean Moriarty from Pixabay

Call Your Lawyer and Insurance Company

Calling your lawyer and insurance company promptly after a car accident is crucial to protect your interests and ensure a fair resolution. Here's how to navigate this important step:

  1. Contact Your Insurance Company: Reach out to your own insurance company to inform them of the accident. When communicating with your insurer, avoid admitting any guilt or fault. Simply provide them with the necessary details and request that they send an adjuster to assess the damages. Your insurance adjuster will help you navigate the claims process.
  2. Consult with a Lawyer: If you have a personal injury attorney, contact them immediately. If you don't have a lawyer, consider consulting with a law firm that specializes in personal injury cases. Many law firms offer free consultations and also work on a contingency fee basis which adds no cost whatsoever to your situation, this can help you determine if you have a viable legal case and get representation in a single call. Your attorney can advise you on your rights, potential legal actions, and the best course of action to protect your interests.
  3. Avoid Speaking with the Other Party's Insurance Company: It's essential to refrain from discussing the accident with the other driver's insurance company. They may try to pressure you into accepting a quick settlement that may not adequately cover your expenses. While financial concerns are valid, it's essential to consider the full scope of potential costs, including medical bills, lost wages, and long-term injuries.
  4. Follow Your Attorney's Guidance: Your attorney is a valuable resource during this process. Listen to their advice, ask questions if you have any doubts, and provide them with all relevant information about the accident. Your attorney's expertise will help you make informed decisions and navigate the legal aspects of your case effectively.

By taking these steps, you can ensure that your rights are protected, and you have the necessary support to pursue fair compensation for any damages and injuries resulting from the accident.

Iphone closeup photo lying on a table.
Image by Pexels from Pixabay

Get Medical Attention

Prioritize Your Health: As previously discussed, if you believe you have suffered serious injuries, do not hesitate to call an ambulance for immediate medical attention. Your well-being is the top priority.

Consistent Medical Care: Once you begin receiving medical treatment, it is crucial to continue attending all doctor appointments and follow their prescribed treatment plans diligently. Do not fall short on your medical care. Many law firms can assist you in securing medical treatment through hospital liens, which means they get paid from your settlement proceeds. This can be particularly helpful if you lack medical insurance or the financial means to cover medical expenses. Be sure to discuss this option with your lawyer.

Comply with Medical Advice: Take your doctor's advice seriously and follow their recommendations. This is especially important because your doctor's testimony can be pivotal in your case. If you disregard their advice or treatment plan, it may be used against you in court, potentially undermining the severity of your injuries.

Monitor for Hidden Injuries: Keep in mind that some injuries may not be immediately apparent. Pay close attention to any changes in your well-being, even if they seem minor initially. Inform your medical provider of any new symptoms or discomfort you experience, as this can help ensure that all injuries are properly documented and treated.

Remember, seeking medical attention and adhering to a consistent treatment plan not only promotes your recovery but also strengthens your legal case by providing a clear record of your injuries and their impact. Your health and well-being are essential, both in terms of recovery and in pursuing fair compensation for your damages.

Closeup of a doctor with a stethoscope and medical coat.
Image by Darko Stojanovic from Pixabay

The Bottom Line

Dealing with a car accident can be a bewildering and unsettling experience, particularly if you've sustained injuries. In such challenging moments, it's crucial to navigate the situation with clarity and composure.

Remember to stay level-headed and composed. Your immediate priorities should be to ensure your safety, contact the appropriate authorities, reach out to your lawyer, and seek medical attention if required.

At Mendez & Sanchez Law, we understand the complexities and hardships that can arise in the aftermath of an accident. If you are seeking an accident lawyer in Los Angeles, our dedicated team is here to support you. Our attorneys are committed to guiding you through the intricate legal processes, helping you pursue the compensation you rightfully deserve.

Here's what sets us apart:

  • Contingency Fee: We work on a contingency fee basis, which means you don't pay unless we win your case. This ensures that legal representation is accessible to everyone.
  • Comprehensive Care: We prioritize our signed clients' well-being and can help arrange medical care when needed, ensuring you receive the necessary treatment without upfront costs.
  • Expert Negotiation: We excel in negotiating with insurance companies, striving to secure the best possible settlement for your case.
  • Litigation When Necessary: If negotiations don't yield a fair outcome, we are prepared to go to court to fight for your rights and interests.
  • Open Communication: We believe in constant communication and advice, keeping you informed at every step and addressing your questions and concerns promptly.
  • Dedication to Maximum Compensation: Our unwavering dedication is to obtain the highest compensation possible for our clients, ensuring that you are fairly compensated for your injuries and damages.

Please don't hesitate to reach out to us today to discuss your situation and receive the legal support you deserve. Your well-being and legal interests are our priority.


If you feel panicked, take a few deep breaths to calm yourself. Prioritize safety by ensuring that anyone seriously injured receives immediate medical attention. If possible, find a police officer to mediate the situation and gather witness information to support your case.

Whether to move your car or stay at the accident scene depends on the situation. On a busy highway, it's generally advisable to move to the emergency lane if it can be done safely to prevent further collisions. On less busy roads, consider calling emergency services and documenting the scene with photos before moving the vehicles.

If the other driver leaves the scene, inform the police immediately. They can investigate the driver's identity. Additionally, consider obtaining a police report by calling 911, especially if you anticipate disputes with your insurance company or complications in the claims process.

After securing the accident scene, check for serious injuries, such as Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI), spinal injuries, or internal injuries. Be cautious with your movements. Inspect for external injuries like bleeding, scratches, or burns, and treat them as necessary. Even if you don't feel injured, consider seeking medical attention, as some injuries may not be immediately apparent.

Witnesses can provide firsthand accounts of the accident, helping to establish liability. Their testimonies can be crucial in supporting your case, especially if you need to file a lawsuit against the other driver. Additionally, expert witnesses, such as doctors and accident reconstruction specialists, can offer valuable insights to strengthen your case.

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