While California does have excellent weather and beautiful landmarks, it is also known for aggressive drivers, overwhelming traffic, and collisions. These accidents take place every single day and can range from a minor fender bender to a multi-vehicle pileup involving severe injuries and deaths. Whatever type of accident it may be, everyone that is driving in the Golden State should know what to do with a collision occurs to receive compensation as quickly as possible.
Safety should be the number one priority of all parties involved in the accident. If anyone is injured or potentially injured, 9-1-1 should be called immediately, and the caller should stay on the line until the emergency responders are on their way. If someone is severely injured, they should not be moved unless they are in immediate danger. If the vehicles can be safely driven, they should be pulled off onto the side of the street as distant from traffic as soon as possible.
After all, this has been taken care of, or if there are no injuries, all drivers involved should begin the process of collecting information. The process starts with the other driver’s names, contact information, date of birth, insurance provider, license plate, and vehicle type and year. If there are any eyewitnesses that saw the accident, their names and contact information should be gathered as well. Depending on the situation, drivers should also attempt to collect information such as who the vehicles are registered to, the license plates of any nearby cars and the name and badge number of any law enforcement officers that arrive or take statements. Drawing a simple diagram of the accident or taking pictures of the location of the crash and any damage could be useful as well.
Once the driver is home, they should immediately notify the DMV. Any motor vehicle accidents involving injuries, deaths, or damage over $750 must be reported within ten days. The driver can then call their insurance provider and notify them that an accident has taken place. At this point, drivers should refrain from signing any waivers or medical releases and should not offer up any photographs or statements. Without an experienced personal injury attorney, insurance providers will often attempt to pay off as little as possible, as promptly as possible in order to avoid a lengthy trial or larger settlement.
Drivers that fail to contact a personal injury attorney will be responsible for all legal paperwork and negotiations with the insurance providers. If an injury has taken place, this can become even more overwhelming as victims are struggling to recover or potentially even hospitalized from their injuries. After the initial contact has been made with the DMV and insurance provider, a California personal injury attorney can take full control of the situation and carry out all of the legwork in the coming weeks and months. This includes negotiating with the insurance providers for fair compensation and setting up a trial if adequate compensation is not received.