Santa Clarita Personal Injury Lawyer: What To Do If You Get In A Car Crash - KHTS Radio

Santa Clarita personal injury lawyer Rick Patterson of Owen, Patterson & Owen offers valuable advice on what to do if you are involved in an auto accident.

As a father of eight children, Patterson firmly believes in helping them be as mentally prepared as possible.

“As we go down the freeway, we often try to role play,” he said. For example, if you slammed into the center divider, what would you say, what would you do? Some good answers include: calm yourself, turn off the engine, communicate with passengers and exit the vehicle when safe. On a busy freeway, never attempt to cross over freeway lanes.

Related: Santa Clarita Attorney Specializes In Obtaining Justice For Motorcycle Crash Victims

Patterson warns of the high rate of fatalities that result after the initial impact, when subsequent drivers rear end your vehicle or when you try to run across lanes. “Oftentimes the worst fatalities and the worst injuries come post-initial accident,” he said. “So, look for safety.”

If your car is damaged but drivable, move it to the right side of the freeway and get as far off the freeway as reasonably possible. “Get up on the side of the road or the hill or wherever you can, away from the debris that might occur when another vehicle rear ends you,” Patterson said. “If the vehicle is off the freeway, turn off the lights and do not use the hazard lights. Ironically, drunk drivers seem to be attracted to flashing tail lights.”

Patterson acknowledges that every accident is unique, with different facts and circumstances, and emphasizes the importance of remaining calm. You could be required to make lifesaving decisions.

More complex issues such as serious personal injury require immediate attention to address the gravity of the injuries in order to immediately render first aid. When calling 911, provide as much detail as possible on location and extent of injuries.

Not responding properly to a car crash comes with “a variety of risks,” Patterson continued.

For instance, not moving the vehicles out of what he calls “the area of danger” after a fender bender can be unsafe for everyone involved, according to Patterson.

Next Patterson recommends contacting authorities and obtaining any medical care needed before calling insurance agents and a local personal injury lawyer if necessary.

“If there’s a serious injury, it is difficult to think ahead as to what should be done,” Patterson said. “At some point you have to recognize, or your loved ones have to recognize, that gathering information, getting evidence, statements, taking photographs is something that should be done.”

Patterson clarified that motorists and their loved ones should never attempt to conduct their own investigations, but should seek the help of trained, licensed experts who can determine the true facts.

“That’s what they do, and they know how to do it. And many of them are retired CHP or Sheriff’s or reconstruction experts,” Patterson said. “That’s an important part of preserving your right to exercise a claim against the other insurance company or against your own insurance company in order to seek reimbursement.”

Quickly seeking legal assistance enables the attorney to gather and preserve evidence, take statements and work effectively with the insurance companies.

“We like to get the statements from the witnesses as quickly as possible,” Patterson said, noting that it’s “much more of an advantage” to record these statements while they’re still fresh, before memories begin to fade or become clouded by other things the person has heard.

Finally, he warns against speaking with the investigators or adjusters from the other driver’s insurance company before you are represented by an attorney. They typically record every word. Their job is to find you at fault.

Owen, Patterson & Owen, with headquarters in Valencia, has successfully represented auto accident victims for over 40 years. They can be reached at 661-799-3899 or

Ed. Note: This article is a KHTS Community Spotlight based on a recent interview wit Owen, Patterson & Owen. 

Owen, Patterson & Owen

23822 West Valencia Boulevard, Suite 303

Valencia, CA 91355


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