What You Should Do Following An Automobile Collision
First, following an accident, try to keep calm, stop and protect your passengers and car. Call an ambulance for any injured party , including yourself, if required. Set flares if you carry them and do not leave the scene of the accident.
Exchange drivers’ licenses, registrations, and insurance identification cards. Do not discuss the accident with anyone or blame anyone, including yourself.
"…take down the name, address, operator’s license number, date of birth, sex, state of license, insurance information and phone number of the other driver."
Again, assuming your are able, take down the name, address, operator’s license number, date of birth, sex, state of license, insurance information and phone number of the other driver. Write down the names, addresses, and phone numbers of any people who saw the accident , but were not involved in it. Note the make, body type, year and license number of the other vehicle. Also make note of any damage to the other vehicle.
If injury or property damage occurred, call the police and cooperate with them when they arrive at the scene. Make sure to note the date and time of the accident, and write down the location (street intersection or highway marker) closest to the actual point of impact.
Lastly, report the accident to your insurance agent immediately. Obtain a claim number from your agent as soon as is possible. Likewise, obtain a police report number from the officers at the scene and make note to follow up and obtain a copy of the report.
Obviously, where you have sustained a serious personal injury, you may be unable to do much more than remain calm and await help. However, even where you initially believe your injuries are less than catastrophic, you should remain calm and not hesitate to seek medical attention, only if to do no more than rule out injury. Unfortunately due to the rush of adrenaline and shock that routinely occurs immediately following an accident, it is not uncommon for the total physical impact and injury to manifest until hours after the accident itself.
In California, state law only requires that drivers maintain a $15,000/$30,000 automobile liability policy. Frankly, if property damage and personal injury occurs as a result of an automobile accident, it is hard to imagine an accident not involving at least $15,000 worth of damage. The sad reality is that most Americans do not have an adequate amount of health, auto, and/or disability insurance to provide for them if they are seriously injured as a result of the negligence of an automobile operator. Most don’t even have a life insurance policy that could pay for funeral expenses if they unthinkable occurred.
Considering the prevalence of automobile accidents, it is important that automobile drivers educate themselves about accidents and their legal options should such an accident occur. Where injury results from the negligent operation of a vehicle, the negligent operator should be held accountable for the consequences of their negligent acts.
Driving on highways, including California’s highways, can be a risky proposition. Whenever you’re in a vehicle there is a chance you will be involved in a traffic accident. Whether it’s a small fender-bender or a major injury accident, knowing in advance what to do can help you avoid costly mistakes.
If you or someone you know has been injured as the result of an auto accident or car crash, you need the assistance of the Scarlett Law Group. Call (415) 688-2176 today to speak with a California Personal Injury Attorney.