5 THINGS YOU MUST DO AFTER AN AUTOMOBILE ACCIDENT

by Mona Deldar on Aug. 15, 2019

Accident & Injury Car Accident Accident & Injury  Personal Injury 

Summary: 5 THINGS YOU MUST DO AFTER AN AUTOMOBILE ACCIDENT

You’ve just been involved in a car accident. You or someone else is injured and your car is damaged. What do you do now?

California authorities require drivers who have been involved in car accidents to perform a number of acts, failure to which legal and administrative action can be taken against them. A California personal injury attorney discusses the five steps you must follow to stay on the right side of the law immediately after an auto accident.

What to Do After a Car Accident in California

  • Stop at the Scene

California law requires drivers who were involved in an accident to immediately stop at the scene.

If you have been involved in an accident, do not escape or drive off. This could lead to a revocation of your driving privileges, license suspension, and hit-and-run criminal charges. Stop at the scene and evaluate the extent of damage the accident has caused. Is someone injured? Has property been damaged? Call 911 immediately if anyone has been hurt and then call for medical assistance.

  • Exchange Information

Talk to the driver of the other vehicle(s). Get the driver’s name, address, contact details, driving license number and car license plate number. Also, get the name of the driver’s insurance company and the policy number. If you cannot get the other driver, leave a note containing your name, contact information and a description of the accident.

Next, get the names, addresses and contact details of the passengers who were involved in the accident, if any. Also, get the names and contact details of eyewitnesses who were present at the scene. They may have to testify on your behalf you later on.

Take pictures of the scene of the accident using a camera or your phone. Capture the state of the vehicles involved, the point of collision and the nature of the road and surrounding environment. Take pictures from different angles.

  • Report Accident to the California DMV

Drivers in California are required to report accidents to the state department of motor vehicles if:

  • The damage caused to property is more than $1,000
  • The accident causes injury or death

This report should be made within 10 days of the accident occurring and should contain details of your insurance coverage and financial responsibility. You are required to report even if the other driver offers to pay for your car’s damage. Failure to report an accident may lead to license suspension.

  • Seek Medical Attention

Your health is your number one priority. Go to the hospital for a checkup. Even if you think you are okay, get a physician to confirm this. You may have suffered internal injuries that manifest later after the initial shock and adrenaline rush subside. Store all your medical documentation including the doctor’s report and medical receipts. These will be invaluable in proving the extent of your injuries.

  • Consult an Attorney

Consult a California auto accident attorney as soon as possible. An attorney will help you:

  • File a report with the DMV
  • Report the accident to your insurer
  • Negotiate with the insurer to ensure sufficient compensation

An attorney will also help you avoid many of the pitfalls drivers make after a car accident including:

  • Making oral or written statements acknowledging fault
  • Downplaying or exaggerating injuries
  • Signing liability release agreements
  • Giving oral or written statements to the other driver’s insurance company
  • Entering into settlements without knowing the extent of personal injury or property damage.  

Having an experienced California personal injury attorney by your side will ensure you do not do anything that jeopardizes your claim for damages.  Schedule a consult with the experienced automobile accident attorneys at Deldar Legal today to discuss your legal options.

Legal Articles Additional Disclaimer

Lawyer.com is not a law firm and does not offer legal advice. Content posted on Lawyer.com is the sole responsibility of the person from whom such content originated and is not reviewed or commented on by Lawyer.com. The application of law to any set of facts is a highly specialized skill, practiced by lawyers and often dependent on jurisdiction. Content on the site of a legal nature may or may not be accurate for a particular state or jurisdiction and may largely depend on specific circumstances surrounding individual cases, which may or may not be consistent with your circumstances or may no longer be up-to-date to the extent that laws have changed since posting. Legal articles therefore are for review as general research and for use in helping to gauge a lawyer's expertise on a matter. If you are seeking specific legal advice, Lawyer.com recommends that you contact a lawyer to review your specific issues. See Lawyer.com's full Terms of Use for more information.