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What to do following a car accident in California

Traffic collisions can be confusing and scary situations. Those involved may have sustained injuries or be in shock. This stress can impair decision making and leave many unsure of what to do immediately following a car accident.

The following guidelines may help those involved in a crash remain calm and act responsibly. Doing so will help anyone injured in the accident and protect oneself from a potential lawsuit.

Post-collision steps

The following steps will ensure that motorists involved in an accident protect themselves and others, both physically and legally:

  • Pull over and check for injuries: After a crash, try to pull the vehicle to a safer space on the side of the road, if possible. Drivers should examine themselves for injury, then check in with any passengers. After that, check in with any occupants of vehicles involved in the crash and help if needed.
  • Do not leave the scene: Even if the accident does not seem serious, do not leave the scene. One of the other motorists may have reason to call the police— leaving may incur a hit and run charge.
  • Collect driver information: Exchange names, addresses, insurance information, driver’s license information, and vehicle information with all other drivers involved in the accident. When speaking with other drivers, do not talk about the accident or apologize for any actions.
  • Take video and pictures: Collect plenty of visual evidence of the crash. Insurance claims adjustors can use this to help flesh out a liability claim and help victims of negligence secure coverage for damages.
  • Report the accident: If the accident resulted in injury, death or over $1,000 of property damage, drivers must report it to the DMV within ten days. Drivers must do so even if the police filed a report of their own.

Find answers with an attorney

Drivers with questions about a potential liability claim may find answers with a local lawyer familiar with motor vehicle accidents. An attorney will assess the viability of the claim and attempt to secure financial restitution for any incurred damages.