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There are plenty of great reasons to live in Los Angeles, but the traffic’s not one of them. The city has long ranked as one of the nation’s most congested cities, and residents get into tens of thousands of auto accidents every year.

No one wants to be involved in an auto accident. Even if you’re not seriously injured, getting into an accident is messy, stressful and frustrating. You don’t want to make things worse. Stay calm and follow your accident checklist, remembering there are important steps both at the scene and afterward.

At the scene

Take a deep breath. Before you leave the scene, you want to make sure everyone is okay. You also want to get the information your insurance company will need:

  • Get help for any badly injured people
  • Call the police
  • Exchange insurance and contact information
  • Talk to witnesses and gather evidence

It’s important to remember that California is an “at fault” state. Insurance companies and courts will assign a measure of blame to each party involved in an accident. You want to avoid apologizing or using language that someone could interpret as an admission of guilt. Talking to witnesses and taking photos can help you challenge an inaccurate version of the events.

Secondary steps

Sadly, you’re not done with your accident after you leave the scene. Motor vehicle accidents can easily set you back thousands of dollars, especially if you get injured. You want to continue following your checklist to make sure you get the recovery you’re due.

  • Contact your insurance company
  • Document any medical treatment
  • Get multiple quotes for repairs
  • Consider legal representation

It’s not unusual for medical bills and repairs to blast past insurance limits, and you don’t want to get caught paying for anything you shouldn’t. Following the last steps of your checklist may help you avoid any unfair financial burdens, and an experienced attorney can help you push back against a bad settlement.

You can’t make it disappear, but you can make it better

Auto accidents are a fact of life, and sometimes there’s no avoiding them. If you get into an accident, you can’t simply wish it away, but you can protect your interests by referring to your auto accident checklist and working with a skilled attorney.