What To Do If You've Been In A California Car Accident

When you've been involved in an auto accident, it's often difficult to know what to do and what not to do. Barry J. Simon, a California personal injury attorney who has been a tort litigator representing victims against insurance and other large companies for nearly 30 years, provided advice on how to protect all of your interests:

  • See a doctor. I think if anybody’s involved in a significant accident where they feel injured, they should go see a doctor or to the hospital ER as soon as possible within a day or two of the accident.
  • Contact a lawyer. Contact a car accident lawyer immediately because insurance companies will take advantage of them. Victims need to have their rights protected. Unless it’s a minor fender bender and they’re not really hurt, victims should always call a lawyer right away – at least to get advice about what to do before the insurance companies try to take advantage of their inexperience in dealing with claims.
  • Avoid giving statements. Never give a statement until their lawyer is present and should never tell anyone too much until they understand from a legal perspective what the information they provide means.
  • Call the police. Always call the police if the accident is significant.
  • Collect evidence. Take whatever pictures they can – either with a camera or a cell phone and talk to and get contact information concerning any witnesses. Also, it is important to get information including insurance on the other driver(s).
  • Get a free consultation. I offer free consultations all the time. I figure everyone needs help. I'll stay on the phone with somebody for an hour sometimes, because – well, that's what it’s all about. Being a lawyer, to me, is not about the money. It’s about helping people. It makes me feel good to be helping other people. I feel better about life when I'm helping someone else. It takes my mind off my own problems, too!