Do I have a case for my car accident injury?

Free Case Evaluation - Our full time staff is ready to evaluate your case submission and will respond in a timely manner.

What To Do After Being Injured in a Car Accident in California

Steps to take after a California car accident

Car accidents happen every day in California. Serious crashes often have devastating impacts, while even minor collisions can cause injuries and disruption to a victim’s life.

When you are involved in an auto accident, you need to know what comes next. Crash victims are often left in a state of shock, but this guide can help you navigate the difficult aftermath of a collision.

Taking the Right Steps After a California Car Accident

The Prevalence of Car Accidents in California

California is known for its bustling cities, scenic highways, and vibrant lifestyle. Unfortunately, it also bears witness to many car accidents. With its extensive road network and densely populated areas, the state experiences a high traffic volume, increasing the likelihood of accidents.

According to the California Office of Traffic Safety’s latest report, there were over 200,000 injuries resulting from car accidents in the state during the previous year alone. These statistics are a stark reminder that being involved in a car accident is an unfortunate possibility for anyone who regularly uses California’s roads.

Car Accident Statistics in California

  • There were 216,366 traffic accidents in the state, resulting in 3,854 fatalities and 165,978 injuries over a single year.
  • The most common type of accident was a rear-end collision, accounting for 27% of all accidents.
  • Los Angeles was the city with the most accidents, with 36,562.
  • The county with the most accidents was Los Angeles County, with 4,651 accidents.
  • The time of day with the most accidents was 3:00 PM to 6:00 PM.
  • The day of the week with the most accidents is Friday.
  • Wet roads were a factor in many crashes.
  • The age group with the most fatalities was 16-24.
  • The gender with the most fatalities was male.

The Importance of Knowing What to Do After Being Injured in a Car Accident

Being injured in a car accident can be an overwhelming and distressing experience. It is crucial to understand that taking appropriate actions immediately following the incident can significantly impact your physical well-being, legal rights, and potential compensation for damages.

Knowing what steps to take after being injured will help protect your rights and also aid in managing the aftermath efficiently. 

From immediate actions at the accident scene to seeking medical attention promptly and reporting the incident to authorities and insurance companies, each step is indispensable in ensuring your safety and preserving your legal standing to get fair compensation.

Immediate Actions to Take at the Car Accident Scene

Ensure safety by moving away from traffic and turning on hazard lights: In the aftermath of a car accident in California, your priority should be to ensure your safety and the safety of others involved. Move your vehicle out of traffic to prevent further accidents or injuries.

If moving your car is unsafe or impossible, turn on your hazard lights to alert other drivers of the accident. Taking these immediate steps minimizes the risk of additional collisions and allows emergency services to access the scene more quickly.

Take photos and video of the vehicles before you move them to preserve the accident scene for your personal injury claim.

Call 911 to report the accident and to request medical assistance if needed.

Once you have ensured your safety, immediately call 911 to report the accident. Regardless of how minor or severe it may appear initially, it is crucial that you seek medical attention as soon as possible after a car accident. 

Explain the situation clearly and provide accurate details about any injuries sustained by yourself or others involved in the crash.

If anyone involved in the accident requires immediate medical attention due to visible injuries or complaints of pain, inform the dispatcher so that an ambulance can be sent promptly.

Even if you don’t experience immediate pain or visible injuries, requesting a medical evaluation from emergency personnel at the scene is still recommended. Some injuries may not manifest symptoms immediately but could become apparent later on. This is very common is car accidents. Injuries like whiplash or seatbelt syndrome can occur days or weeks after an accident.

Exchange information with other parties involved (names, contact details, insurance information).

After ensuring everyone’s safety and seeking medical assistance if necessary, exchange information with all parties involved in the accident. This includes obtaining their names, phone numbers, addresses, driver’s license numbers, license plate numbers, insurance company names, and policy numbers.

Additionally, note details about their vehicles, such as make, model, and color. This information will be crucial for insurance claims and potential legal proceedings. Your attorney will need all these details to build your case. 

Try to remain calm and polite during the exchange of information, as emotions may run high in such situations. Gather accurate details without admitting fault or making statements that could be used against you later.

Stick to the facts when interacting with other drivers involved in the accident. If there are witnesses present at the scene who can provide an unbiased account of what happened, ask for their contact information as well.

Thoroughly document the accident scene through photographs or videos.

One of the most critical actions at the accident scene is documenting the incident thoroughly through photographs or videos. Use your smartphone or any available camera to capture images of all vehicles involved in the accident from different angles. 

Take close-ups showcasing damages sustained by each vehicle and any relevant road conditions that may have contributed to the incident (e.g., skid marks or debris).

Additionally, photograph traffic signs or signals near where the collision occurred. Images should not only focus on property damage but also include any visible injuries you or others might have suffered.

These visual records will serve as valuable evidence during insurance claims or lawsuits arising from the accident. Remember to date and time stamp these photos, further strengthening your car accident case.

Following these immediate actions at a car accident scene in California lays a strong foundation for navigating through post-accident procedures more effectively. Your focus on safety, prompt reporting to authorities, exchanging vital information with other parties involved, and documenting evidence will significantly contribute to a smoother resolution of your case.

Seeking Medical Attention

It is important to seek medical evaluation even if injuries seem minor.

It is crucial to seek immediate medical attention after a car accident, even if your injuries initially appear insignificant. The adrenaline rush and shock of the accident may mask symptoms, leading you to underestimate the severity of your injuries.

Additionally, some injuries, such as soft tissue damage or internal injuries, may not manifest symptoms immediately but can worsen if left untreated. By seeking medical evaluation promptly, you identify and treat any hidden or underlying injuries early on. Report all treatment to your legal team.

Doing this can prevent complications and long-term health issues from neglecting seemingly minor injuries. Moreover, obtaining medical documentation of your injuries is essential for insurance claims or potential legal proceedings later on.

They will also document your injuries in detail, which is essential for insurance claims and legal proceedings. Your physician can provide recommendations for ongoing treatment, including referrals to specialists if required.

By seeking medical attention promptly after a car accident in California, you prioritize your health and well-being while ensuring proper documentation of your injuries. Immediate evaluation helps identify hidden injuries and obtain necessary treatment early on. 

It establishes a clear medical record that can be invaluable during the claims process or any potential legal action that may follow the accident. Most personal injury claims are abandoned if the injured party does not obtain medical treatment as soon as possible after the accident.

Reporting the Accident to Authorities and Insurance Companies is Crucial

When taking legal action after an accident or injury, it is vital that you have a record of the incident itself. Making a report is one way to ensure the incident is properly documented.

File a police report within 24 hours, especially if significant damages or injuries are involved.

When involved in a car accident in California, it is crucial to promptly file a police report, mainly if the accident resulted in significant damages or injuries. Reporting the incident to the authorities within 24 hours helps create an official record of the accident.

This report is essential evidence when seeking compensation for your injuries and damages. The police report typically includes details such as the date, time, and location of the accident, as well as the names and contact information of all parties involved.

Additionally, it may contain statements from witnesses or any citations issued by law enforcement officers at the scene. Filing a timely police report helps establish liability and who is at fault and provides an accurate account of what occurred during the accident.

Be careful not to discuss your accident’s specific details with other parties besides your lawyer, as they may attempt to use your statements against you to devalue your car accident claim. If the other driver’s insurance company contacts you, do not discuss the accident with them.

Understanding your rights and responsibilities as an insured individual.

Understanding your rights and responsibilities as an insured individual when filing a car accident claim in California is crucial. Familiarize yourself with the terms of your insurance policy, paying close attention to coverage limits, deductibles, and exclusions. Understanding these details allows you to navigate the claims process more effectively.

Additionally, California follows a comparative negligence legal system, which means that compensation may be reduced if you are found partially at fault for the car accident. Being aware of this can help manage expectations during negotiations or legal proceedings.

Understanding your insurance rights after being hurt in a car accident can be made much easier by speaking with an attorney specializing in personal injury cases. The law firm can manage all legal difficulties and maximize your chances of compensation for your injuries and losses brought on by another driver’s negligence.

Evidence to Gather for Your Claim or Lawsuit

  • Medical records: Get copies of your medical records, including doctor’s notes, X-rays, and bills. This will document your injuries and treatment.
  • Lost wages: If you have missed work due to injuries, keep track of your lost wages.
  • Property damage: If your property was damaged in the accident, keep track of the cost of repairs or replacement.
  • Other records: Any other records that may be relevant to your case, such as insurance records, rental car receipts, prescription costs, and damage estimates.

If you are self-employed, maintaining accurate financial records demonstrating the impact on your business income is essential. Keep track of canceled appointments or orders resulting from an inability to work at total capacity.

In cases where long-term disability is expected, consulting with a financial expert may be necessary. They can help calculate projected future income loss based on career trajectory and potential earning capacity.

Consulting with a Personal Injury Attorney

When facing the aftermath of a car accident and subsequent injuries, it is crucial to recognize the immense benefits of seeking legal advice from a personal injury attorney specializing in car accidents. These professionals serve as guardians, protecting your rights while navigating the complex legal landscape.

By enlisting their expertise, you can ensure you receive proper representation and maximize your chances of getting the compensation you deserve. 

One of the critical advantages of consulting with an attorney is gaining access to their extensive knowledge and experience in handling car accident cases. 

These lawyers deeply understand California’s laws regarding personal injury claims, including those specific to car accidents. They are well-versed in negotiating with insurance companies, identifying liability, and building strong cases based on solid evidence.

This level of expertise allows them to effectively advocate for your rights and interests throughout the legal process.

Furthermore, a personal injury attorney specializing in car accidents can help accurately assess the value of your claim based on various factors such as medical expenses, lost wages, emotional distress, and future damages resulting from long-term injuries or disabilities.

Studies have shown that injured plaintiffs get approximately 25% more when using a lawyer. With their assistance, you can avoid accepting inadequate settlement offers that do not fully compensate for your losses. Their ultimate goal is to ensure that you are fairly paid for all aspects related to the accident.

Understanding California's Statute of Limitations

Every state has specific time limitations within which individuals must file personal injury lawsuits, known as statutes of limitations. Failing to meet these deadlines can result in losing your right to seek compensation through legal means.

 In California, under Code Civ Pro § 335.1., individuals have two years from the accident date or discovery of an injury to file a personal injury lawsuit.

However, there are exceptions to this rule, such as cases involving government entities or minors. It is crucial to consult with an attorney who can guide you through the specific details and nuances of these regulations, ensuring that you complete all essential deadlines.

By seeking legal advice early on, you can ensure that your attorney has sufficient time to gather evidence, build a strong case, and file all necessary paperwork before the expiration of the statute of limitations.

Common Causes of Car Accidents in California

  • Distracted driving: This is the most common cause of car accidents in California and across the United States. It includes any activity that takes your attention away from the road, such as texting, talking on the phone, eating, or adjusting the radio.
  • Drunk driving: Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is another major cause of car accidents. It is illegal to drive with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08% or higher in California.
  • Speeding: Driving above the speed limit is a major factor in many car accidents. It can make stopping or avoiding other vehicles, pedestrians, and cyclists more difficult.
  • Aggressive driving: It includes tailgating, weaving in and out of traffic, and making illegal turns. Aggressive driving can lead to road rage, which can also cause accidents.
  • Reckless driving: This is any driving that is considered to be a danger to others. It can include driving too fast for conditions, driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, and driving without a license.
  • Fatigue: Driving when you are tired can impair your judgment and reaction time. This can lead to accidents.
  • Bad weather: Driving in poor weather conditions, such as rain, snow, or fog, can increase the risk of accidents.
  • Defective vehicles: A vehicle that is not adequately maintained or has mechanical problems can be a hazard on the road.
  • Road hazards: Road hazards such as potholes, construction zones, and deer can also cause accidents.

Common Injuries After a Car Accident

Whiplash: This neck injury occurs when the head is jerked back and forth. It is often caused by rear-end collisions.

Headaches: Headaches are another common injury in car accidents. Various factors, including whiplash, a concussion, or a traumatic brain injury, can cause them.

Back pain: Back pain is also a common injury in car accidents. It can be caused by the sudden impact of the collision or by the force of the seatbelt.

Sprains and strains: These are injuries to the ligaments and muscles. They can occur in any body part but are most common in the neck, back, and shoulders.

Bruising: Bruises are caused by the rupture of blood vessels under the skin. They are usually not serious, but they can be painful and unsightly.

Concussion: A concussion is a mild traumatic brain injury that can cause various symptoms, including headaches, dizziness, nausea, and confusion.

Traumatic brain injury: A traumatic brain injury is a more serious injury that can cause long-term damage to the brain. Symptoms of a traumatic brain injury can include headaches, dizziness, nausea, confusion, memory loss, and personality changes.

Broken bones: Broken bones are serious injuries in any body part. They are most common in the arms, legs, and ribs.

Internal injuries: Internal injuries are injuries to the organs and tissues inside the body. They can be severe and can be life-threatening.

How to Deal with the Emotional Aftermath of a Car Accident

Allow yourself to grieve. It is normal to feel a range of emotions after a car accident, including shock, sadness, anger, and fear. Give yourself time to process these emotions and to grieve for any losses you have experienced.

Talk to someone you trust. Talking to a friend, family member, therapist, or counselor can help you to express your emotions and to cope with the trauma of the accident.

Take care of yourself. Make sure to get enough sleep, eat healthy foods, and exercise regularly. These activities can help to improve your mood and to reduce stress.

Avoid alcohol and drugs. Alcohol and drugs can worsen your emotional state and make coping with the accident’s aftermath more difficult.

Avoid driving for a while. If you are feeling anxious or traumatized by driving, taking a break from driving for a while is okay.

Seek professional help if needed. If you are struggling to cope with the emotional aftermath of the accident, it is important to seek professional help. A therapist can help you to develop coping mechanisms and to manage your emotions.

It is important to remember that everyone experiences the emotional aftermath of a car accident differently. There is no right or wrong way to feel. The important thing is to be patient with yourself and to seek help if you need it.

The Ultimate California Car Accident Guide 2023

california car accident guide cover

Click below to download The Ultimate California Car Accident Guide 2023, produced by Bisnar Chase.

Contact a Top-Rated Car Accident Lawyer Near Me

  • Bisnar Chase has been handling car accident cases since 1978.
  • We have a 99% success rate.
  • More than $800 Million won for our clients.
  • No win, no fee.

If you are injured in a car accident in California, contact Bisnar Chase today for a free consultation.

Related Car Accident Information

Have Car Accident Deaths Surged During the Coronavirus Pandemic?

Concerns Over Marijuana-Induced Psychosis and Increase in Car Accidents

AAA Poll Shows Public Losing Trust in Driverless Cars After Multiple Crashes

FREE Case Evalution

Our staff will evaluate your case submission and respond in a timely manner.

Case Results

  • 1


    Consumer Class Action

  • 2


    Motor Vehicle Accident

  • 3


    Auto Defect – Seat Manufacturers, Johnson Controls

  • 4


    Motorcycle Accident

  • 5


    Defective Seatback

  • 6


    Bicycle Accident

Client Reviews

Bisnar Chase Reviews

Bisnar Chase has been amazing with me through my lawsuit. I felt real compassion for my case and I was given their very best to make sure I was well taken care of. In addition to the great service given during my case, Bisnar Chase helped me get my son to his invited USA Football Team camp in Texas. They immediately offered to help fund the trip and are so supportive of his journey. I felt Kristi is just as excited for him as I am with this opportunity. Kristi has been an absolute delight to talk with. Bisnar Chase is more than I ever expected I could get in an attorney. I would recommend them to anyone!

Christina Del Real
Bisnar Chase Google Review

It was a pleasure working with such an amazing team. You will definitely feel welcomed and kept in the loop throughout the entire process. They do a great job making you feel like you are a part of their team which is how one should feel. The superb customer experience from finish to end. You can trust they will do all possible to promptly and efficiently handle your case.
Yes! I recommend this team…

Queen V
Bisnar Chase Review - Natalie

I’m so impressed with this law firm. I lost my mother because of a seat defect when she was rear-ended in an auto accident and Bisnar Chase stepped up and took our case. The staff is wonderful and Brian Chase took his time explaining everything via phone with me. I’m honored to have the best of the best working on our family’s behalf, trying to get justice for my Mom, because of a negligent car company still manufacturing faulty seats. I look forward to working with this firm and am hopeful for a positive outcome. Thank you so much, Brian Chase. I know you will work your hardest on this case. God Bless you.

Natalie C.
Bisnar Chase Google Review

I had an attorney for my truck accident who wanted almost 60% of what my case was worth. Worse than that, he was willing to settle for $5,000.00 with the insurance company even though I was still treating for whiplash and back pain. I contacted Bisnar Chase Personal Injury Attorneys because a friend recommended them. My case was handled exceptionally well! I was being kept notified throughout the whole process and only when I was comfortable with the settlement figure, did my attorney Gavin Long, accept it. I felt like we were working together and I felt listened to. I would refer Bisnar Chase to anyone who wants quality over quantity!

Lauren B

Bisnar Chase Personal Injury Attorneys, LLP

1301 Dove St STE 120, Newport Beach, CA 92660


Have a Question that wasn’t answered here?