Motor Vehicle Accidents Tips & Guides 

5 Steps to Take When You’re Involved In A Motor Vehicle Accident


September 30, 2022

4 min read

Being involved in a motor vehicle accident is one of the most traumatizing situations anyone can be in. Especially if it is your first one. In 2021, Los Angeles city had over 40,000 motor vehicle collisions reported. That’s a very big number and has been increasing year after year. The important thing to know is how to be prepared if you are involved in a car accident. In this post, we’ll cover some of the first steps you need to take when in a car crash or minor accident. 

car involved in a motor vehicle accident and smashed
Photo by Clark Van Der Beken on Unsplash

Quick Summary of the Initial Steps to Take.

  • Stop the vehicle and turn it off. 
  • Check for injuries on yourself or your passengers
  • Call the police and ambulance immediately
  • Remain calm 
  • Take note of the situation in your own words

Step 1: Immediately Stop & Turn Your Vehicle Off

The very first step anyone should take in a collision, is to stop and turn your vehicle off. It is very dangerous to keep your vehicle running after a motor vehicle accident. Even in minor collisions, remain on the scene and keep your car turned off. Next, you’ll want to turn on your hazard lights (emergency lights) to warn other drivers on the road. 

Step 2: Check for Injuries On Yourself and Your Passengers

Before stepping out of your vehicle, make sure you or your passengers don’t have serious injuries. It’s common to not feel any injuries in the first few minutes of getting into an accident, as your adrenaline and shock is still very active. Once you have checked on injuries for yourself and your passengers, check for injuries for anyone else involved, such as the other vehicle or any pedestrians. 

Common injuries to check for:

  • Dizziness 
  • Neck whiplash
  • Bruising
  • Abrasions & Cuts
  • Fractures or broken bones ( legs & arms)
  • Difficulty breathing & chest pain

Step 3: Call The Police & Ambulance Right Away

If you or your passengers are injured, call the ambulance immediately or instruct someone nearby to do so. Even in minor collisions, calling the police is recommended, as they will be able to determine if an ambulance is required for any injuries you or your passengers may have. In serious collisions, a police officer is mandatory to close off the road. In most cases, the fire brigade will be the first to respond and can provide first aid until the paramedics arrive. 

Step 4: Remain Calm

It is very normal to be in shock or feel scared in a motor vehicle accident. Especially if it is the first one you are getting involved in. The important thing to remember is to remain calm and collected. Follow the steps above and below. You may find yourself feeling scared, guilty and nervous – all of which is normal. Take a few deep breaths to remain calm or count down from 10 to help you. You need to be calm to take note of the situation and handle it. 

Step 5: Take Note Of The Situation & Circumstances

When it comes to being involved in a motor vehicle accident, you need to take note of the circumstances. Using the notes app in your phone or a traditional notepad, write down all the details of the situation. Do not argue with the other parties involved or admit to any fault, remember to remain calm. 

What to take note of when assessing the situation in a car accident:

  • Date & Time of Day
  • Weather conditions
  • Traveling direction
  • Roads & Signs
  • Your traveling speed
  • The other vehicle(s) traveling direction
  • The other vehicle(s) actions
  • Vehicle(s) make, model, year and license plate number
  • Damage to each vehicle
  • Contact details of parties involved

Thoughts to Remember When Involved in a Motor Vehicle Accident

One of the most important steps to remember in a collision, is to remain calm and take deep breaths. You being calm is vital to assess the situation in your own words. It is also vital to the safety of yourself and other passengers in your vehicle. It is normal to feel scared, but taking a few deep breaths or counting down from 10 is a great exercise to help you relax. 

  1. Prioritize Your Health: Seek immediate medical attention, even if you believe your injuries are minor. Some injuries may not be immediately apparent, and having a timely medical evaluation can be crucial for your health and any future legal claims.
  2. Document Everything: Keep detailed records of the accident, including photos of the scene, your injuries, and any damages to your vehicle. Also, gather contact information for any witnesses. Documentation can be vital for insurance claims and potential legal actions.
  3. File a Police Report: Reporting the accident to the police is important. A police report provides an official account of the incident, which can be helpful for insurance claims and any legal proceedings.
  4. Notify Your Insurance Company: Inform your insurance company about the accident as soon as possible. However, be cautious about the details you provide before speaking to a personal injury attorney, as statements can impact your claim.
  5. Be Cautious with Insurance Adjusters: Insurance adjusters may contact you to discuss the accident. Remember, their goal is to minimize the payout for the insurance company. It’s often best to refer them to your attorney rather than engaging in detailed discussions or agreeing to any settlements prematurely.
  6. Avoid Social Media: Do not post details about the accident, your injuries, or any legal proceedings on social media. Insurance companies and defense attorneys might use such posts against you.
  7. Understand Statutes of Limitations: In California, there are specific time limits for filing a personal injury lawsuit. Generally, you have two years from the date of the injury to file a lawsuit. Missing this deadline can bar you from pursuing legal action.
  8. Consult a Personal Injury Attorney: Personal injury laws can be complex, and an experienced attorney can provide valuable guidance, help you understand your rights, and advocate on your behalf to ensure you receive fair compensation for your injuries, damages, and any other losses.
  9. Consider All Damages: Compensation in personal injury cases can cover more than just medical bills. It may also include lost wages, pain and suffering, emotional distress, and more. An attorney can help identify all potential areas of compensation.
  10. Be Mindful of Your Statements: Anything you say about the accident can be used in the legal process. It’s wise to discuss the accident only with your attorney and avoid making statements to others that could be interpreted as an admission of fault.

Final Thoughts

According to the latest study, the chances of being involved in a motor vehicle accident in Los Angeles is 1 in 366. Despite the packed freeways and busy roads, your chances are fairly low. The ones at the highest risk are younger drives between the ages of 20 and 29. However, if you do find yourself involved in a motor vehicle accident and have suffered some form of injury, you may be entitled to compensation. 
If you want to know if your situation qualifies for a lawsuit or you are entitled to compensation, contact Mr. Sarkesians of DAS LAW LA for your FREE evaluation. At DAS LAW LA, Mr. Sarkesians will take the time to listen to your current situation and explain whether or not you have a case. There is nothing to lose and the evaluation process is very easy. There is no obligation to work with DAS LAW LA and the evaluation will give you clarity on what your next steps should be. Don’t hesitate to get in touch with Mr. Sarkesians today.

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