Driving is a part of life in the United States and a necessity for getting to and from work. Given how commonplace the activity is, many of us forget how dangerous driving actually is. Whether an accident is caused by inclement weather, a random object on the road, or driver negligence, it is important to understand the steps to take immediately after an accident. You may be wondering what to do after a car accident in San Diego.

We’ll cover that and more. Taking the proper steps can keep you safe and potentially help you if you decide to later take legal action against the at-fault party.

Assess the Situation

Following a vehicle or truck-related accident in San Diego, stop and think. Determine if you were injured first. Then see if your passengers are OK. If you can, look around to see how many vehicles were involved in the accident and where you are located. Move to get out of danger if you need to, but do not leave the scene.

Call 911

If there was a serious injury that may have caused injuries, notify the police by calling 911. Provide information about how many vehicles were involved and potential injuries. The call-taker will use that information to alert nearby EMS to come to the scene of the accident.

San Diego will only send police and other EMS personnel to accidents that either involve injuries or a hit-and-run collision.

If police come to the scene, you may be able to fill out a police report then. Otherwise, you may need to visit a police station to complete the report.

Take Protective Measures

In some cases, the safest step is to remain in your vehicle and wait for EMS to arrive. This is often the greatest advice when there is fast-moving traffic nearby. If it is safe to do so, push your vehicle off the roadway. Call a tow truck and wait away from the roadway if possible.

Collect Information

Collect information that you will need for the accident report. You will also need to provide your identification information to others who were involved.

Common information that you and the other drivers will need to exchange include:

  • -Name
  • -Address
  • -Insurance information
  • -Date of birth
  • -Driver’s license number
  • -License plate number
  • -Phone number

If you were driving someone else’s vehicle, you would need to provide information about the identification of the owner as well. Gather witness information if possible.

Find an Attorney

If you do not already have a car accident attorney, begin researching one who works in your area. Personal injury law encompasses a wide range of practice areas, so be sure to look for someone who has experience representing clients in car accident claims in San Diego. During your consultation, your attorney will review the facts of your case to determine if you have a strong claim for compensation.

Contact Your Insurance Company

Within a week, you will need to call your car insurance company to begin the claim process. Do not admit fault for the accident. Do not accept any settlement offers either. These matters should be handled in consultation with your attorney. If your car is repairable, you will need to have it towed to a nearby body shop for repair estimates. Your insurance provider will tell you whether the car can be repaired or if it will be declared totaled.

DMV Report

You have a limited window of time to file an official report with California’s DMV. This step is required for serious accidents. When you file your report, it must contain current and detailed information about your insurance policy and other information. Filing this report on time will help you later on when you file your personal injury claim. If you have questions about this part of the process, your car accident attorney can help you.


Q: What Do I Do After a Minor Car Accident in California?

A: Following a small fender-bender, you will want to take basic information from the other party involved in the car accident. This should include the car’s license plate, the driver’s license number, insurance information, and contact info. Notify your insurance policy provider about the accident and follow their advice on how to file an insurance claim.

Q: Do You Have to Call the Police After a Minor Car Accident in California?

A: Most cities have non-emergency lines that you are free to use to report incidents or ask questions. The City of San Diego’s website only suggests calling the police when there is an injury or if the accident involved a hit-and-run (which could be a crime). A minor fender-bender is generally considered a minor incident that does not require the involvement of police.

Q: How Much Should I Expect from a Car Accident Settlement in California?

A: The amount of monetary compensation for your car accident settlement in California will depend on the severity of your injuries, the level of neglect or misconduct on the part of the at-fault party, the damage to your vehicle, and other factors. During your consultation with a personal injury attorney, your lawyer can give you a better idea of how much you may be entitled to.

Q: How Do You Handle a Car Accident in California?

A: Each car accident is unique and should be handled differently. For minor accidents that do not involve bodily injury, simply taking photos of the scene and collecting information from the other driver is sufficient. The insurance companies can determine who is at fault and cut checks for car repairs. A car accident that leads to a physical injury could require the help of a personal injury attorney who can determine if you are entitled to monetary compensation.

Schedule Your San Diego Car Accident Consultation Today

The moments after a car collision can be chaotic and potentially dangerous. Take steps to protect yourself and your passengers. You may require medical treatments immediately after the wreck. Once you are in a position to safely do so, contact an experienced car accident lawyer. They will investigate the facts of the accident to determine if you are entitled to compensation for your injuries.

Kenneth M. Sigelman & Associates has helped many clients in San Diego receive monetary compensation following a car or motorcycle collision. Contact our office today so we can begin researching your case.