What Should I Do Immediately After a Car Accident in Los Angeles?633 West Fifth Street, Suite 2200
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What Should I Do Immediately After a Car Accident in Los Angeles?
Los Angeles is renowned to be one of the trickiest places to operate a motor vehicle. Roads and highways remain congested with bumper-to-bumper traffic from dawn to dusk and, on many days, deep into the night. Not even carpool lanes constructed on the major highways have alleviated the traffic congestion problem. Traffic congestion triggers stress and frustration among drivers, many of which take unnecessary risks while operating a motor vehicle. Risk-taking on LA roads and highways increases the number of auto crashes.
If you get involved in a car accident that produces injuries and property damage, you have to answer one important question: What should I do immediately after a car accident in Los Angeles? The answer to the question is to follow a series of several steps that help you eventually receive compensation to cover the financial losses associated with lost wages, medical bills, and property damage. You have two ways to receive compensation after a motor vehicle collision. Filing an insurance claim helps you receive compensation, as does filing a civil lawsuit that seeks monetary damages.
Working with a car accident lawyer helps you file a persuasive insurance claim and a personal injury lawsuit. An experienced car accident lawyer conducts an exhaustive investigation to gather physical evidence, as well as interviews witnesses to verify what transpired before, during and after the auto crash. Your car accident lawyer also calculates a value for compensation and determines whether you should try to negotiate a settlement with the insurance adjuster processing your claim. You also can negotiate a settlement with the other party’s lawyer.
For more than three decades, the personal injury lawyers at Morgan and Morgan have helped clients recover the compensation they deserve. Since 1988, Morgan and Morgan has recovered more than $15 billion in compensation for our clients, with a large percentage of the recovered money coming from car accident cases. When you hire a car accident lawyer from Morgan and Morgan, you do not have to pay upfront legal fees, as we charge on a contingency fee basis. This means we get paid when you get paid.
Schedule a free case evaluation today with a car accident lawyer from Morgan and Morgan to determine how to proceed with your case.
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What Steps Should I Take After a Car Accident?
How you react in the immediate aftermath of a motor vehicle collision is the most important factor that decides whether you receive compensation to recover your financial losses.
The chaos that often ensues after a vehicle collision can cause one or more motorists to make a poor decision. The key is to remain calm, move your vehicle off the road or highway to a safe location, and check on other drivers and passengers to determine whether they need immediate medical care. If you have stored flares in the trunk of your car, place them around the accident scene to alert other motorists.
Unless you get involved in a fender bender that results in no injuries, you should call 911 after a car accident. Calling 911 accomplishes three important goals. First, the responding law enforcement agency ensures the accident scene is secure enough to prevent other accidents, as well as protect victims against additional harm. Second, activating the response system sends a team of medical personnel to the scene to deliver medical care and transport victims that have sustained serious injuries to the nearest hospital. Third, the responding law enforcement agency conducts a detailed investigation that leads to the filing of the official police report.
Speak to a Law Enforcement Officer
The law enforcement officers responding to the car accident scene interview witnesses, including every driver and passenger involved in the crash. When it becomes your turn to speak with a law enforcement officer, speak slowly and provide the officer with an accurate account of what happened. Do not embellish your version of events, especially when it comes to assigning blame to one or more other parties. The investigation conducted by the team of law enforcement officers should reveal the cause of the collision.
Receive Medical Care
The medical team responding to the car accident determines whether you need emergency medical care. If the medical team allows you to remain at the scene of the crash, you should receive medical care as soon as possible after the collision. Some symptoms of an injury, such as whiplash or a concussion, do not develop until a few hours or a couple of days after a personal injury incident. Receiving prompt medical care helps you build a strong case for filing an insurance claim, and if warranted, a civil lawsuit that seeks monetary damages. If you wait too long to receive medical care after a motor vehicle collision, the other party’s lawyer might claim you did not sustain serious enough injuries to justify receiving compensation.
Collect Physical Evidence
Although the responding law enforcement officers conduct a thorough investigation, the physical evidence gathered does not become available for several days or even a few weeks after the collision. If you are allowed to remain at the scene of the auto crash, use your Smartphone to capture photographs of the accident scene. Take photos of tire marks and debris, as well as the damage done to your car and the injuries you sustained. The car accident lawyer that you hire from Morgan and Morgan can review the physical evidence that you gathered long before the official police report becomes available.
Names and Contact Information
The law enforcement officers responding to the vehicle collision obtain the names, contact information, and insurance policy numbers of every motorist involved in the crash. They also acquire the names and contact information of witnesses. However, the names and contact information of witnesses are not accessible to your attorney until the submission of the official police report. By obtaining the names and contact information of witnesses, you give your attorney a head start in conducting an investigation.
Contact a Car Accident Lawyer
The decision of whether to contact a car accident lawyer should not be one that requires you to spend days contemplating the decision. You should contact a car accident lawyer and then schedule a free case evaluation immediately after a car accident in Los Angeles. One of the most glaring mistakes made by car accident victims is to contact the appropriate insurance company before reaching out to a car accident lawyer. Without legal representation, the insurance company might deny a valid claim or approve a claim for a value that is worth much less than what you deserve in compensation.
What Are the Most Common Causes of Car Accidents?
When you meet with a Morgan and Morgan car accident lawyer for a free case evaluation, one of the first items on the agenda is for your attorney to determine the cause of the auto crash. Your car accident lawyer reviews the physical evidence you collected, as well as the information presented in the official police report.
After handling car accident cases for more than 30 years, we present a list of the four most common causes of motor vehicle collisions, three of which form the foundation for proving another party committed one or more acts of negligence.
Unnecessary risk-taking on Los Angeles roads and highways represents a common cause of car accidents. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) completed a study in 2018 that demonstrated speeding motorists account for more than 25 percent of all car accident fatalities. Motorists that exceed posted speed limits give themselves less time to react to changing road and traffic conditions. In addition, the faster a car moves before impact, the stronger the impact on another vehicle or a stationary object. Another common type of reckless driving concerns motorists that run red lights and stop signs. The result of this type of reckless behavior can be a potentially deadly side-impact crash.
In Los Angeles, another common type of reckless driving unfolds when motorists move in and out of carpool lanes in an attempt to move past slow-moving vehicles.
Driving Under the Influence of Drugs and/or Alcohol
Despite public service announcements, some of which are made by Hollywood celebrities in the LA market, an alarming number of motorists continue to operate vehicles while under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol. California has established a maximum blood alcohol content (BAC) maximum of 0.08 percent for motorists 21 years of age and older. Driving while intoxicated slows down the reaction times of motorists, which dramatically increases the likelihood of a car accident. Intoxicated drivers also make poor operating decisions, such as weaving in and out of carpool lanes.
If an intoxicated driver caused you harm, you might have a strong enough case to prove negligence, which means you can file a civil lawsuit against the driver that seeks monetary damages.
Los Angeles sits in a vast basin surrounded by a wide variety of natural splendors, such as the
Pacific Ocean and the San Gabriel Mountains. The natural reaction for many motorists is to take their eyes off the road to soak in the natural splendors. Other types of visual distractions are the numerous attractions that define the LA scene, such as Dodger Stadium and the downtown architecture. Other types of distractions include combing hair and eating a meal.
Technology has introduced a relatively new distraction called texting and driving. California law prohibits holding a cell phone or another type of electronic device while operating a motor vehicle. This includes prohibiting the dangerous act of texting and driving. Texting and driving is considered a dangerous act while operating a motor vehicle because the act takes the driver’s eyes completely off the road in front of the car.
Anyone living in LA or traveling to the area during the winter of 2022-23 knows how poor weather can cause car accidents. From the wind tunnel called Interstate 15 to torrential rains that trigger mudslides, LA weather can turn nasty without much warning. If you sustained one or more injuries as the result of a car accident caused by the weather, your only recourse for receiving compensation is to file an insurance claim.
Contact Morgan and Morgan for Help
If you’re dealing with the aftermath of a car accident, you may still be wondering, “What should I do immediately after a car accident in Los Angeles?” While considering the helpful information above, don’t wait to get the legal support you deserve. Get a free, no-obligation case evaluation with Morgan and Morgan today.