Car Accident

6 Important Steps To Take When Involved In A Car Accident in California

Throughout the United States, vehicular accidents have been a leading cause of injuries and deaths for many years. 

Several factors can contribute to vehicular accidents, and sometimes more than one party is responsible for damages.

Unfortunately, even the most prudent driver can be involved in an accident in their lifetime. These accidents can range in severity from your usual parking lot fender bender or, worse, traumatic head-on collisions.

Some of the most frequent motor vehicle accidents include the following:

  • car crashes

These are the most common accidents, and they can cause lasting injuries.

  • truck collisions

When a passenger car and truck collide, it is inevitable to have catastrophic damages.

  • motorcycle accidents

Often, motorcyclists are the ones who sustain the damage when struck by another vehicle.

  • bicycle accidents

Lack of road etiquette sometimes leads to accidents that can cause cyclists to suffer serious physical injuries.

  • pedestrian accidents

Sometimes, no matter how careful you are, there is still a high chance for you to be struck by a careless driver while walking on the sidewalk.

What Happens After A Car Accident

For victims of severe car accidents, it may completely alter their life in a matter of seconds. 

In California, if you have been harmed by another driver, you may find it challenging to process filing an auto insurance claim, a personal injury claim or both to recover your damages. 

To assist you with your car accident claims choosing a personal injury lawyer in California is essential. Having a legal aide on your side can help process all the paperwork needed so you can focus on your recovery.

You may be asking yourself, is it worth hiring a car accident lawyer in California? Can’t the involved parties resolve the situation amongst themselves without legal counsel?

Well, if it’s a minor accident that only resulted in cosmetic damage to your vehicle, you may choose to settle the details on your own. 

But, if another driver bumped your car and the total damages will result in hundreds of dollars for repair costs, it is better to file a claim against the other driver’s auto insurance to secure proper compensation.

Problems may also arise if the at-fault driver does not have auto insurance or if the damages are pretty severe. If more people were involved and injured and death is concerned, hiring an experienced accident attorney would be better. 

In addition, if you want to maximize your chances of receiving compensation for your injuries following a car accident, having a dedicated personal injury or car accident lawyer on your side can make a huge difference.

You might be asking what types of compensation are you entitled to following a car accident. As a car accident victim, you may pursue injury compensation for the following:

  • medical bills
  • lost wages, past and future
  • property loss
  • pain and suffering
  • emotional distress
  • loss of consortium
  • Funeral and burial expenses for accidents involving a wrongful death claim

What You Need To Do When Involved In A Car Accident

It would be best to not settle for less than you deserve. So, if you ever find yourself in a car accident, here are steps to avoid further injury and legal complications.

Check Around You and Prioritize Safety

After the accident, you need to assess the situation thoroughly. Make sure to check for any physical injuries or damages. 

Afterwards, you may use the information you have gathered to decide how to proceed with the situation.

For example, if your car was positioned to disrupt traffic but is still operable, move it out of the way to a safer location. This will help avoid further collisions and extra damage. 

But, if you are in an area with little to no traffic, you can save this step at a later time.

Once you have cleared the area, check if you or anyone needs medical assistance and immediately contact emergency services. 

If you sustained minor to no injuries, but the other party is in a dire state, and you know how to perform basic first aid, you may do so while waiting for emergency services to arrive. 

Provide details to the Local Authority

It’s a requirement in California to contact law enforcement in the event of any car accident. Therefore, provide all necessary information asked by the law enforcement officers. 

Exchange Vital Information

If the driver of the other party is conscious and able to respond, make sure to retrieve important information such as the following:

  • full name
  • address
  • contact number
  • license plate
  • license number
  • vehicle identification number (VIN)
  • insurance information (company’s name and policy number)

If you see any witnesses, you may also ask them for their names and contact information. Then, you get in touch with them later to provide further support for your injury claim. 

You can also ask them to document the scene on your behalf if needed as proof or evidence.

Take Photos and Videos

If you are able, it’s essential to document all relevant information. All proof or evidence must show all the damages, including the time, place and location where the accident occurred. 

Having photographic evidence can significantly impact the compensation amount you may receive. Thus, it’s essential to take photos and videos from various angles and distances to capture a comprehensive picture of the situation. 

In addition, take shots of the traffic controls, signs and any visual or physical obstacles around the area that may have contributed to the accident. 

Additional Reports

After ten days after the car accident, California law obliges you to contact the Department of Motor Vehicles primarily if the accident resulted in any of the following:

  • injury
  • death
  • property damage over $1000

The DMV will need you to complete a Traffic Accident Occurring Report, an SR-1 form. 

You also have to report the accident to your insurance company to start an investigation. 

Many factors can cause car accidents. For one thing, they are unpredictable and can be very costly. Therefore, taking swift legal action after a car accident is crucial so you can immediately recover your damages and start your road to recovery. 

Get The Help You Need

Secure a legal representation as soon as possible so they can help you navigate through your car accident claim with confidence.

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