5 Steps to Take After a Car Accident in San Francisco

5 Steps to Take After a Car Accident in San Francisco

Most people don’t expect to be in a car accident, but it happens more often than you might think. In fact, according to the National Safety Council, there are 1.6 million car accidents every year in the United States alone. 

If you or someone you know has been involved in an auto accident, knowing how to proceed can be difficult and confusing. Luckily, there are five simple steps you can follow after any car accident in San Francisco that will help put your life back together again.

1) Call 911

Although it can be hard, it’s important not to move any injured parties after an accident. This is for safety reasons—you don’t want anyone getting hurt even more. If someone has been ejected from their car or suffered some other serious injury, make sure they have their hands free and are wearing a seatbelt while they wait for help. 

Once help arrives, ask them if you can do anything to assist them before they tend to others; often times police officers will instruct bystanders to call loved ones on behalf of crash victims so that family and friends are notified of what happened as quickly as possible. 

Finally, let everyone else at the scene know that you plan on calling an injury lawyer once things settle down. You may also consider taking photos of everything: your vehicle, others' vehicles, road signs, etc. These can all be used to support your case should something happen later. 

Keep in mind that sometimes there may be witnesses who did not stop at all but are willing to give a statement later on about what happened (i.e., saw how drunk someone was when driving). 

In these instances, write down their name/phone number immediately following an accident so you can reach out later with questions. 

Make an appointment: At first glance scheduling an appointment with a San Francisco injury attorney might seem like overkill—after all, no one wants to hire a lawyer until after they need one!

2) Get Medical Care

After an accident, it’s important to get proper medical care. If you don’t have health insurance or aren’t able to afford a trip to your primary care physician, many doctors will see you on an urgent basis for free or for a small fee. 

Even if you don’t have symptoms immediately after an accident, it’s possible that lingering pain or other complications could arise later down the line without treatment. If you need medical attention after an accident, head over to Urgent Care and get yourself checked out.

3) Collect Evidence

You’ll want to make sure you collect evidence right after an accident, including photos of visible damage, copies of any insurance paperwork and contact information for witnesses. 

An attorney will help you determine what evidence is relevant, but any information that could substantiate your story or shed light on how and why an accident occurred is worth keeping. 

And don’t forget about your smartphone — it may have recorded vital data like speed and location. If you were hurt in an accident, ask someone else with experience handling injuries or medical issues to take photos while you focus on getting medical attention as soon as possible.

4) Talk to an Attorney

If you’ve been involved in an auto accident, it’s important to take certain steps right away. First, you need to seek medical attention if necessary—even if you feel fine. 

Next, you want to talk with an attorney right away and not rely on insurance or police reports. Third, you want an attorney who has experience working with cases involving injuries caused by car accidents.

5) Consider Settling Outside of the Court

Not every accident or injury is worth fighting. In many cases, you’re better off negotiating a settlement with an insurance adjuster, especially if you’re not prepared to take your case all the way through trial. 

Insurance companies know it's expensive and time-consuming for personal injury lawyers to take on large numbers of cases, so they're happy when victims are willing to settle out of court. 

If you're injured in an accident and unsure whether your case is worth fighting for, talk with an attorney before making any decisions.

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