A car accident can happen anytime, but the shock, anger, and fear you feel at the time of the crash can cloud your judgment. Without realizing it, you could make a bad call, turn down much-needed help from others, or fail to gather the correct information. Follow these 8 tips and advice to avoid mistakes that could affect your entitlement, health, or freedom.

8 steps to follow immediately after a car accident

Stop the car immediately after your car collides with another. You should never leave the scene of the accident as doing so could result in the law assuming you were at fault or committed a criminal offense. After stopping the car, keep calm, take a deep breath, and assess the situation. Then…

  1. Check the surroundings: Before you leave the car, drive off to the side and switch on the hazard warning lights. If possible, set up reflectors and torches to warn oncoming traffic.
  2. Treat your injuries: Do you feel sudden, severe pain, do you notice cuts or broken bones or strains? Don’t get out of the car if your injuries are severe enough.
  3. Address the car damage and the other driver: leave your car and check both vehicles for damage. Check with the other driver if he or she needs urgent medical attention.
  4. Call the police or the ambulance: if either party is injured, call the ambulance. Regardless of the amount of damage, you should always call the police to report it.
  5. Gathering Information: Ask for the driver’s name, insurance company name and policy number, license plate, vehicle type, location of the accident, and the name of the witness.
  6. Take Pictures: Use your phone or someone else’s phone to take pictures of the damage done to both vehicles, the scene of the accident, and the drivers, passengers, or witnesses.
  7. Move vehicle: If you can do this safely, get both cars off the flow of traffic. Use a towing company if the car is too damaged to drive or has protruding parts.
  8. Limit discussions about the accident: Only speak to a lawyer or agent about the accident as it could affect your insurance coverage.

According to Dolmanlaw.com, if you’ve suffered a serious injury, especially if it affects your quality of life, you should hire a car accident attorney. If you are held responsible for the driver’s accident or injuries, are afraid to say something that could affect your case, or want more cash for your severance pay, a car accident attorney can protect you and fight for compensation .

How to file a car accident claim

After filing a police report, gathering information about the car accident, and calling your insurance company, you can report your damage. The claims office will guide you through how to properly file a claim after a car accident, but you must start this process immediately. If you make a claim for personal injury, the limitation period is 2 years after the accident.

Car accident claims don’t have such a strict deadline, but it’s best to file a claim quickly so the information is fresh and the evidence is still under review. At this point, the other driver may try to get you to admit fault or suggest that they handle the matter without insurance. It is best not to listen to them as getting your insurance company benefits both drivers.

While making a claim, you should contact your insurance company or state insurance officer to inquire about laws regarding claims and how you will be paid.

Stick to the facts, listen to your insurance company and your lawyer, and protect yourself from other drivers’ insurances. Both parties are interested in paying the other drivers as little as possible and the other party may give you false or inaccurate information.

Do you have a news tip? Call us at (661) 298-1220 or email newstip@hometownstation.com. Don’t miss a thing. Get the latest KHTS Santa Clarita News Alerts straight to your inbox. To report typos or errors, email Corrections@hometownstation.com

KHTS FM 98.1 and AM 1220 is Santa Clarita’s only local radio station. KHTS mixes a combination of news, traffic, sports and features along with your favorite contemporary adult hits. Santa Clarita news and features are delivered throughout our airwaves, on our website, and across a variety of social media platforms throughout the day. Our award-winning KHTS Daily News is now read by over 34,000 residents every day. As a living member of the Santa Clarita community, the KHTS broadcast signal reaches the entire Santa Clarita Valley and parts of the high desert communities in the Antelope Valley. The station streams its talk shows over the Internet and thus reaches a potentially global audience. Follow @KHTSRadio on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.