Garden Grove makes up part of Orange County, and as a result, sees many car accidents annually. According to census data submitted by the United States Census Bureau, Orange County, California’s third-largest county has an estimated population of 3.17 million, and the average number of car ownership is two cars per household. As a result of this growing population, the county has seen a rise in car accidents. In fact, according to the California Office of Traffic Safety, in 2017 alone, 21,969 auto accidents in Orange County resulted in injuries.
Given these numbers, the chances of suffering injuries in a car accident in Garden Grove, CA, are quite high. If you have been involved in an auto accident contact a Garden Grove car accident attorney to learn if you are entitled to recover compensation. Call (800) 900-9393 and get in touch with a local experienced personal injury lawyer in Garden Grove at Crockett Law Group to help you get maximum compensation.
What Should You Do Immediately After a Car Accident?
No one wants to be involved in an auto accident, but regardless of how careful you are on the road, a single mistake or a careless driver can lead to a catastrophic accident. Surviving a car crash can leave you confused and wondering what to do next. Below is a list of steps to take immediately after a car crash. Read it, print out a copy, and store it in your car – you can refer back to the list if, god forbid, you ever get involved in an auto accident.
Don’t Leave the Scene
Your instincts and your whole body might be screaming for you to leave the horrific scene and go home, but don’t! You should never leave the site of the accident until the police have arrived, and you’ve had a chance to exchange information with the other driver(s). Leaving the scene of a car crash violates California’s Vehicle Code Section 20002 and can be considered a misdemeanor. Worse yet, if someone was injured during the wreck, and you leave the scene, you risk facing hit and run felony charges as dictated by California Vehicle Code Section 20001.
Check for Injuries
The first thing you need to do after a car crash is to confirm if you’ve sustained any injuries. If you think that you, a passenger, or the other driver might be injured, it’s best you don’t move. Instead, call 911 and make sure to let the operator know about the number of injured persons, and then wait for emergency medical personnel to arrive.
Move to Safety
Move your vehicle to the side of the road if it still works, so you don’t end up getting hit again. But if your injuries make that impossible, at least turn on your car’s emergency lights to alert other drivers.
Call the Police
It’s always a smart move to call the police after a car accident, no matter how insignificant the damage or injuries may seem. Law enforcement officers not only assist with the exchange of information but also write a traffic accident report that can come in handy during the insurance claim process. You should note that some cities won’t send police officers to the crash scene unless an injury is reported.
Don’t Discuss the Accident With Other Parties
It’s understandable that your body’s adrenaline levels would spike after a car crash. You’re probably terror-stricken, anxious, and confused by what you just experienced. As a result, you could find yourself saying things like “I’m sorry” or “It’s my fault” to the other driver or eyewitnesses, not because you are responsible for the crash, but because you’re confused and still in shock. You can rest assured the things you say after a car accident will be used against you down the line.
Exchange Information With All Parties Involved
You’ll want to leave the scene with as much identifying information as possible about eyewitnesses, the other driver, and his or her vehicle.
- Driver’s information: Name, phone number, address, and the driver’s license number
- Insurance information: Name of the insurance provider and policy number
- Other vehicle information: Model, make, color, year, VIN, and license plate number
Whenever possible, take photos before you leave the crash scene. Take pictures of all vehicles involved. These pictures will help you later since they can be used as evidence to prove property damage. Also, take photos of the vehicle’s positions. This may be used to help shed light on what might have caused the accident.
Seek Medical Attention
Even if you feel fine and want to go home and forget everything, don’t; instead, go see a physician immediately. Remember, you might still be in shock, and the adrenaline spike in your veins could be masking your actual pain. For this reason, make sure you seek medical attention immediately after leaving the scene of the accident. Besides, medical documentation could be used as evidence for a personal injury claim down the road.
Notify Your Insurance Carrier
Auto insurance companies require that you promptly notify them in the event you get involved in a car accident. Delaying to notify your insurance carrier could result in a denial of your insurance claim. However, remember not to discuss injuries or faults before you’ve had a chance to consult with an auto accident attorney in Garden Grove.
Hire an Attorney
Auto accident victims rarely know what to do after a crash. Contacting a reputable car accident lawyer in Garden Grove, CA, will ensure you get expert legal assistance regarding how to proceed with your case. You’re also more likely to not only win the case but also to recover maximum compensation with an experienced lawyer than without one.
Can I Dispute Fault in a Car Accident in California?
Yes, and you’re well within your rights to do so! You can dispute fault in an auto accident, both with the police officer who wrote the traffic accident report and your insurance provider.
If you don’t agree with the details contained in the traffic accident report or find errors, you have the right to dispute these details and file a supplemental report. In fact, our attorneys recommend you do so as soon as possible. Hopefully, the police officer just made a few minor mistakes, such as getting the color of your vehicle wrong.
However, if the officer’s report is greatly exaggerated or mischaracterized, write up your account of what actually happened. Visit the precinct responsible for writing the traffic collision report and ask that they attach your account of what happened to the report. This is also known as a supplemental report. While it won’t change the officer’s initial legal conclusion, at least it helps tell your side of the story.
Don’t worry too much though; in Garden Grove, CA, traffic accident reports are inadmissible. Sure, it could influence the insurance adjuster’s liability decision, but that can be challenged as well. Whichever the case, it’s always best to get a local experienced accident attorney to help you dispute fault in a car accident.
Is It Worth Hiring an Attorney for an Auto Accident?
If you feel you’re up to the task, and you’re confident you can handle the insurance provider on your own, by all means. However, if you’re having doubts or don’t want to deal with the headaches that accompany property damage and personal injury cases, consider hiring an accident lawyer.
Another reason you might want to hire an accident attorney is to help you determine fault. An auto accident case that involves disputed fault is a challenging claim to make. It requires the legal intellect, tenacity, and experience that only an experienced accident lawyer can offer.
Even if determining liability is not an issue, it still makes sense to hire an attorney after a car crash because the chances are you won’t get the compensation you deserve without one. Insurance companies know that without a lawyer, you have no real recourse if they make you a mediocre offer or deny your claim altogether. In other words, you don’t have any leverage without a lawyer looking out for your best interests.
Contact a Garden Grove Car Accident Attorney Today
As seasoned Garden Grove car accident attorneys, we have successfully handled a good number of cases where car accident victims were treated unfairly by insurance providers. At Crockett Law Group, we are committed to taking care of your injury case, and we will fight aggressively to help you receive the settlement money you deserve. If you’ve sustained injuries resulting from a car wreck, call Crockett Law Group at (800) 900-9393 to speak with an injury attorney.