If you can't come to us, then we will come to you. We do not get paid unless you get paid!
Cohen & Marzban logo

What to Do After a Car Accident in Los Angeles: A Step-by-Step Guide

Being in a car accident, even a minor fender-bender, can be stressful and disorienting. Knowing what steps to take immediately after a collision is crucial not only for your well-being but also for protecting your legal rights and ensuring that you receive fair compensation.

This comprehensive guide will give you a clear roadmap of what to do after a car accident in the Los Angeles area, empowering you to take action with confidence.

The Aftermath: 10 Critical Steps to Take After a Los Angeles Car Accident

1. Check for Injuries and Call 911

Woman making phone call after car accident

Your and your passengers’ safety is paramount. Quickly assess everyone for injuries, then call for help. Even if injuries seem minor, always call 911. Some injuries, like whiplash or internal bleeding, might not be immediately apparent.

When speaking to the 911 dispatcher, clearly state your location (using cross streets or landmarks is helpful) and the number of vehicles involved, and provide a brief description of any injuries.

2. Contact Law Enforcement

Always report accidents to the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) or the relevant law enforcement agency for the location. That way, there will be documentation of the event. The police report will serve as an official record of the accident, which is essential for insurance claims and can be critical if you need to pursue a legal claim.

3. Document the Scene


Visual evidence of the accident is key. If it’s safe to do so, take photos and videos of the scene from various angles, making it a point to capture:

  • Damage to all vehicles involved
  • Skid marks, tire tracks, and debris
  • Traffic signals, signs, and road conditions (wet pavement, potholes, etc.)
  • Visible injuries to yourself, passengers, and others involved
  • The position of vehicles before and after they’ve been moved (if possible)

You’ll also want to gather contact information (names and phone numbers) from any witnesses on the scene. Independent accounts of the accident can significantly strengthen your case.

4. Exchange Information (But Don't Discuss Fault)

At this point, you can exchange information with the other driver(s) involved. You’ll want to collect the following:

  • Full name and contact information (including address and phone number)
  • Driver’s license number
  • Insurance company and policy number
  • Vehicle information (make, model, year, license plate number)

Be polite, but avoid apologizing or discussing fault, even if you believe you might have been at fault. Determining liability is a complex legal matter best left to insurance investigators and, if necessary, the courts.

5. Move Vehicles to a Safe Location (If Possible)

If your vehicle is drivable, move it to the side of the road or a safe location away from traffic to prevent further accidents. Make sure to turn on your hazard lights to alert other drivers of your vehicle’s presence.

6. Don’t Admit Fault


Avoid doing anything that may jeopardize your rights or the strength of your subsequent claim. Refrain from apologizing, admitting fault, or speculating about the cause of the accident with the other driver(s), witnesses, or anyone else at the scene. Remember that anything you say can be used against you later.

7. Seek Medical Attention

See a doctor as soon as possible after the accident, even if you feel fine. As mentioned, the symptoms of some injuries might not manifest immediately. Follow your doctor’s instructions for treatment diligently and keep copies of all medical records, bills, and receipts.

8. Report the Accident to Your Insurance Company


Notify your insurance company about the accident as soon as possible, as most policies require prompt reporting. This will also demonstrate that you’re taking the accident and any injuries you may have suffered seriously.

Provide your insurer with basic details, but avoid giving a recorded statement without first consulting an attorney.

9. Document Your Injuries and Expenses

Keep detailed records of all accident-related expenses and losses, including:

  • Medical bills and expenses, such as doctor visits, hospital stays, treatments, medications, physical therapy, and medical devices
  • Lost wages if you’re unable to work due to your injuries
  • The cost of repairing or replacing your vehicle
  • Other miscellaneous expenses, such as rental car fees, transportation costs to/from medical appointments, etc.

Should you elect to pursue legal action against the at-fault driver(s), your attorney will use these records to calculate your eligible compensation.

10. Consult an Experienced Los Angeles Car Accident Attorney


If you’ve sustained injuries or significant property damage, it’s crucial to talk to an experienced L.A. car accident attorney. A lawyer can protect your rights, investigate the accident thoroughly, handle all communication and negotiation with insurance companies, and fight to get you the maximum compensation.

What Not to Do After a Car Accident

Hopefully, you now have a better idea of how to proceed after a collision in L.A. However, it’s equally important to know what not to do. More specifically:

  • Don’t apologize or admit fault
  • Don’t sign anything without legal advice
  • Don’t post about the accident on social media
  • Don’t accept a quick settlement without consulting an attorney

Actions like these could weaken your case and reduce your chances of receiving fair and adequate compensation for your injuries.

California's Comparative Negligence Rule


California operates under a pure comparative negligence rule. This means that even if you were partially at fault for the accident, you can still recover damages, though your compensation will be reduced proportionally to your degree of fault.

For example, if your eligible damages total $100,000 but you’re found to be 30% at fault, you would only receive $70,000.

Why You Need a Los Angeles Car Accident Attorney

A skilled car accident lawyer is indispensable for promoting your interests and overseeing the often complex legal process. Here’s how they can help:

  • Investigating the Accident: Gathering evidence, interviewing witnesses, and consulting experts to build a strong case on your behalf.
  • Determining Liability: Analyzing the facts and applicable laws to establish who was at fault for the accident.
  • Negotiating With the Insurance Companies: Dealing with insurance adjusters on your behalf to fight for a fair settlement that fully covers your losses.
  • Representing You in Court: If a fair settlement can’t be reached, your attorney can file a lawsuit and litigate your case effectively in court.

Your lawyer will be your advocate, confidant, and emotional support as you seek financial restoration after your car accident.

Types of Damages You Can Recover

Woman suffering from a neck injury after a car accident

In a successful personal injury claim, you may be eligible to receive compensation for economic damages and non-economic damages.

Economic damages are intended to offset the financial impacts of an accident, including medical bills, lost wages, property damage, and rehabilitation costs. Non-economic damages, meanwhile, acknowledge the intangible burdens the victim has been forced to bear, such as pain and suffering, emotional distress, and loss of enjoyment of life.

Your attorney will pursue the maximum amount in each category of damages you’re eligible to claim.

L.A. Car Accidents: Statistics and Resources

What are the chances of ending up in a vehicular accident in Los Angeles? Quite high, as it turns out. In 2021 alone, Los Angeles County recorded over 40,000 incidents, with 4,477 resulting in severe injuries or fatalities. Statistics like these highlight the importance of driver safety and awareness.

If you’ve been involved in a crash in L.A., you may find the following resources helpful:

Of course, your greatest resource during this time is the aid of a qualified personal injury attorney from Cohen & Marzban.

Contact a Los Angeles Car Accident Attorney Today

Time is of the essence after a car accident in Los Angeles. Evidence can disappear, memories can fade, and the statute of limitations may affect your right to pursue compensation. If you or someone you care about has been injured, don’t hesitate to seek legal counsel.

Cohen & Marzban: Fighting for Your Rights After Los Angeles Car Accidents

The experienced team of Los Angeles car accident attorneys at Cohen & Marzban has a proven track record of success, recovering millions of dollars for our clients over the years. We understand the devastating impact these accidents can have, and we’re dedicated to providing compassionate, aggressive legal representation.

Call us today at (310) 504-6585 to schedule a free consultation. One of our attorneys will review your case, explain your legal options, and answer whatever questions you may have. Remember — we don’t get paid unless you do.

Related Posts

See all related posts: