WHAT YOU SHOULD DO IF YOU ARE INVOLVED IN AN ACCIDENT
If you’re involved in an accident as a driver of a vehicle, California law requires that you:
- stop—whether the accident involves a pedestrian, a moving car, a parked car or someone’s property;
- give assistance to anyone who is injured. For example, you may need to call an ambulance, or give first aid—if you know how. If you are not trained in first aid, don’t move someone who is badly hurt because you might make the injury worse. However, you should move someone who is in danger of being hurt worse or killed (for example, someone who is in a car fire);
- if any one is injured, you must call for medical help, and you must call the police;
- exchange with all other drivers your name, driver’s license number, your car’s license plate number, the name of your car’s insurance company, and the insurance policy number. If you drive away without exchanging information, you could be charged with hit-and-run, even if the accident was not your fault;
- if you hit a parked car or other property, try to find its owner. If you can’t find its owner, leave behind, in a conspicuous place, a note with your name, your contact information, and a brief explanation of the accident; and
- report the accident to the CA DMV within ten days if the damage to any vehicle exceeded $750, or if anyone was injured or killed.
We also strongly suggest that you do the following
- warn other motorists about the accident by placing flares on the road (if there are no flammable fluids/items nearby); by turning on your car’s hazard lights; and by lifting your car’s engine hood;
- do not admit to anyone, not even to the police, that you were at fault for the accident, even if you think that you were, because you could be wrong. Besides, an admission of fault will be used against you during the processing of any claim for compensation that you may file later on;
- while at the scene, do not, for any reason, agree or offer to pay money to anyone, nor should you accept any money from anyone;
- ask bystanders if they saw the accident. If any of them did, get their names and contact information;
- draw a diagram of the accident scene which shows the positions of all the vehicles, their direction of travel, and any traffic control devices, such stop signs or traffic lights. Take pictures with your cell phone camera of the damage to your vehicle, to other vehicles, and of any skid marks;
- CALL OUR OFFICE FOR A FREE CONSULTATION TO SEE HOW YOU CAN OBTAIN COMPENSATION FOR YOUR INJURIES AND/OR YOUR PROPERTY DAMAGE FROM THE PARTY RESPONSIBLE FOR THE ACCIDENT; and
- report the accident to your insurance agent [NOTE: If you retain our office to represent you in connection with an accident, we will make all the reports necessary to your insurance, to the other party’s insurance, etc.