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Being in a car accident can be a frightening experience, even if it is a relatively minor accident. It can be difficult to understand exactly what to do after your accident: who to talk to, where to go, and what information to gather. But if you follow these ten simple steps, you will be able to successfully navigate the aftermath of your car accident.

  1. Get to a safe spot: As best as you are able, try to move your car to a safe area on the road. This may mean getting to the shoulder on a highway or pulling off into a parking lot or a grassy median. This will ensure that you are in a safe place to evaluate the accident and that you and your car will not be at risk for getting into another accident.
  2. Contact emergency medical services. If anyone was hurt in the accident, be sure to call for an ambulance or have someone else call. Some accidents can be serious and can result in injuries that require immediate medical attention.
  3. Call the police. You will also want to call 911 to alert the police of the accident. The police can help direct traffic around the accident, gather evidence about how the accident occurred, and file a police report about the incident.
  4. Get the negligent driver’s information: If you and the other driver are not seeking immediate medical attention, be sure to get his or her information as soon as possible. This will include their name, address, phone number, driver’s license, auto insurance provider and auto insurance policy number. By gathering this information, it will help the police file their report and will expedite the process of handling your claim with their insurance company.
  5. Locate any witnesses: Depending on the location and the time of the accident, it may be challenging to find witnesses to your accident. However, if you were driving with a passenger, if another car was there to witness the accident and stopped or if multiple cars were involved in the accident try to speak to them and get their information so that they can confirm what happened in the accident.
  6. Take pictures of the accident scene: Photographic evidence is another way to show what happened in the accident, so try to get pictures of the damage to your car, the general area that you were in when the accident occurred, and the relative positions of the two cars involved in the accident.
  7. Always seek immediate medical attention: In some cases, injuries from car accidents do not show symptoms right away. You might think that you are fine, but it is possible that you experienced whiplash or a concussion as a result of your accident. In fact, you may not feel any pain in your neck or any symptoms of a concussion until later, when the condition has become more serious. Even if you think you are not injured, you should still visit a doctor to ensure that you did not suffer any kind of injury and that you have a record of treatment if more serious injuries develop later.
  8. Keep all of your medical and car repair bills: When it comes time to speak to the insurance company, you will want to be able to show them exactly how much you spent for medical care and the cost of vehicle repair or replacement. Save all of your receipts and bills in the aftermath of your accident so that you are able to recover those damages in your claim.
  9. Remain calm: It is easy to panic after a car accident, because there things happen fast and the scene can be chaotic. However, it is always best to stay calm and level-headed. This will help you remember to get the information you need and take the proper steps in the days after the accident to ease the process of resolving your claim when it is time to negotiate with the other driver’s insurance company.
  10. Call a lawyer right away: Dealing with insurance companies can be extraordinarily frustrating and confusing. Often, the insurance company will try to offer you much less money in settlement than your claim is worth. But having an experienced San Jose car accident lawyer on your side is the best way to ensure that you receive the compensation you deserve. Your lawyer will make sure the insurance company treats you fairly. If you were in a car accident, please call our office as soon as possible to make sure you case is handled properly.