If you were rear-ended on I-5, would you know what to do? What if another driver T-boned your car at a major intersection?
Our experienced Cerritos, California car accident lawyers answer common questions about what drivers should do after a collision.
Do I have to call the police?
Call 9-1-1 immediately if anyone is hurt. Don’t move people who cannot move by themselves. Instead, wait for medical responders to arrive. Moving a person with a spinal injury or broken bone can make the injuries worse.
If there is only property damage, you are not required to call the police immediately. A police report can be helpful for your insurance claim, though, so consider calling them.
If the property damage totals more than $750, you must report the accident to the California Department of Motor Vehicles within 10 days (California Vehicle Code § 16000 (a)). Since it is hard to estimate the total damage, play it safe and call 9-1-1.
Should I move my car?
Safety should be your first concern after a car accident. If no one was hurt in the crash, move the cars if possible. Leaving cars in traffic risks another collision. If anyone was hurt and it is safe to leave the cars where they are until police arrive, don’t move the vehicles. If anyone remains in the cars, keep seatbelts on.
If the damaged cars remain in the path of ongoing traffic, place safety reflectors or flares on the road to warn approaching cars. Always turn on the hazard blinkers when a vehicle is stopped in a place it should not be.
If the car accident occurs on a highway and there are no serious injuries, pull over to the right shoulder if possible. The California Highway Safety Patrol suggests that people remain inside the car with seat belts fastened until emergency responders arrive.
Can I talk to the other driver?
Yes. You should exchange contact and insurance information with the other driver. If law enforcement arrives promptly, you can get the other driver’s information from the officer instead. If you don’t talk to the other driver, make sure you get the driver license number, vehicle registration information, proof of insurance or evidence of financial responsibility, and address and contact information. Take photos of the registration and insurance documents if the other driver allows you to, .
Do not discuss the cause of the accident with the other driver or admit fault. Instead, focus on ensuring that people are safe and emergency personnel are called.
Don’t leave the scene without getting the information about the other driver that you will need when talking with a car accident lawyer and your insurance company.
Should I take pictures at the accident scene?
Yes. Take videos and photos at the scene if possible. If the cars must be moved and it is safe to videotape the scene before the cars are moved, do so. Photos and videos can show the position of the cars after the crash, the damage to the vehicles right after the wreck, the flow of traffic, the weather and other conditions, and anything else that is important to determining how the crash happened.
Do I need a car accident lawyer?
Having an experienced car accident attorney on your side can help you resolve your claims with the other driver and the insurance company more quickly and with less stress for you. A lawyer who has represented many accident victims can determine how much your case is worth and how to proceed with the insurance companies. An experienced car accident lawyer knows how to build a persuasive case that will help you get the compensation to which you are entitled. Appropriate compensation covers your pain and suffering, future medical care, changes to your employability, and all your direct expenses related to the crash.
The car accident lawyers at Cerritos Legal offer a free consultation to car accident victims. Call today at 562-865-9356 for your no-obligation consultation.