Five Actions to Avoid Following an Orange County Auto Collision

Warning signOrange County is typically known for its beautiful beaches, thrilling attractions and natural beauty.  Traffic collisions are not something that we like to think about when we talk about The OC but as with any busy, highly-traveled area, Orange County has its fair share of automobile accidents. According to the California Office of Traffic Safety, there were 19,462 injuries and fatalities during 2011 in Orange County alone.

No one likes to think about being involved in an automobile accident or witnessing a crash. Because of the number of crashes that occur in Orange County each year, your chance of being a witness to a car accident or being involved in a car collision is fairly good. In order to protect yourself and others at the scene, you should avoid doing these five things.

  1. Avoid moving into oncoming traffic. The first impulse when you are at a crash scene is to get out of your car, if possible, to check on others, but this may cause more injury. If traffic is very heavy, you could be injured or cause another person to be injured by getting out of your car and trying to move around on a busy road. If it is not safe to get out of your car, turn your hazard lights on, keep your seatbelt fastened and call for emergency help immediately.
  1. Avoid leaving your car in the path of oncoming traffic. Move your vehicle to a safe spot. If it is safe, you should move your vehicle to the side of the road and out of the path of oncoming traffic. Leaving the vehicles in the roadway may cause another wreck as drivers speed toward the scene.
  1. Avoid moving injured parties unless there is an immediate danger.  Moving an injured person can cause greater injury if you are not a trained medical professional.  However, if there is an immediate danger to the person, you should support any broken limbs and avoid twisting the neck and back during the move. If possible, remove the danger rather than the person.
  1. Avoid panicking.  It is normal to feel panicked after a car accident but it is crucial that you remain calm in order to protect yourself and others. Take a deep, calming breath and focus on what you need to do in order to protect yourself and others.  Call 9-1-1 immediately to request emergency assistance for anyone who is injured. Exit your vehicle from the side that is opposite from traffic, if possible, to avoid stepping out into oncoming traffic.  Check on injured persons to see if there is anything that you can do to help while waiting for emergency assistance.
  1. Avoid discussing fault with the other driver.  Other than checking on the other driver to assess injuries and ensure that he or she is not in immediate danger, you should avoid discussing details with the other driver. Car accident attorneys advise that you should never admit fault or discuss the accident because what you say may be held against you later in court. However, another reason is to avoid tempers from flaring.  If you begin to discuss the collision, the other driver may become angry and place blame on you. This could lead to an altercation if tempers flare.  It is best to check on the other driver and then return to your vehicle or a safe location while you wait on emergency assistance to arrive.

Being involved in a collision is the last thing that you want to think about in Orange County.  We would rather concentrate on enjoying our breathtaking views, pristine beaches and exciting attractions; however, the fact is that automobile accidents occur each day resulting in injuries ranging from bumps and bruises to severe, life-altering injuries.  Knowing what steps you should take following a California car accident can save your life as well as the lives of others on our roadways.

If you are involved in an automobile accident, you should always take steps to protect yourself and your rights to receive compensation from the at-fault party.  If it is safe, you should take photographs of the vehicles and the accident scene and get the names and contact information of any witnesses.  This information will assist your attorney during his investigation of the car accident and in preparing a solid claim for damages.

The first priority at an accident scene should be your safety and the safety of the other driver and any passengers.  Once you have assessed the danger and determined that you have done all you can do, it is wise to begin protecting your legal rights.  This includes contacting an experienced attorney as soon as possible following the accident. The attorney will advise you of the other steps that you should take to protect yourself and your loved ones.

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