An auto collision can be a stressful and exhausting experience, but drivers are responsible for knowing what to do if they are involved in one. The best defense to avoid any problems after a crash is to be prepared. After stopping your vehicle, it is recommended that all motorists involved in an auto crash follow these steps:
1. Assist the injured. Quickly check with those involved in the collision to determine if there are any injuries. If medical attention is needed, call 9-1-1. If it is too painful to move, remain where you are until the paramedics arrive. If medical attention is not needed, make sure you are not in imminent danger at the roadside
2. Control the scene. If there are no injuries and the vehicle is drivable, safely move to the side of the road. Turn on your hazard lights and turn off your vehicle.
3. Notify the police and submit a report. California law requires you notify the police if there is an injury, no matter how slight, and/or if the estimated damages will exceed $750. No matter what either party says, call the police and file a report. Ask the officers where to obtain a copy. Having a report on file may help later if a liability claim is filed.
4. Document the scene and exchange information. Having this on file will help complete any future paperwork or address potential problems. You should record:
*Full names of those involved in the collision, as well as any witnesses
*Vehicle Information including makes, models, and years for all cars involved
*Vehicle identification/license plate numbers
*Driver’s license numbers. Take a photo of the diver’s license
*Insurance carriers and policy numbers
*Photos of the location, people involved, and damaged vehicles
5. Notify your insurance carrier, regardless of fault, to begin proper claim filing. Many insurance companies have staff available 24/7 and can assist immediately. Having proof of insurance in your vehicle is required by law.
6. Consider calling or visiting your doctor. Even if you feel okay after the accident, you should take the risk of injury seriously. You might feel fine, but there are a number of injuries commonly associated with car accidents that don’t show symptoms immediately. These can include neck pain and stiffness, loss of range of motion in the neck or back, headaches, tenderness or tingling in the shoulders or arms, fatigue, and/or dizziness. If you begin to experience any of these symptoms, it is best to seek medical care in a timely manner.
Drivers and owners of motor vehicles must be prepared to assume legal and financial responsibility if involved in a crash. However, never allow yourself to be pressured into admitting fault or giving an opinion about the cause of a crash. Let the police and insurance companies determine who is at fault. It may be in your best interests to consult with an attorney about the range of your legal options.
If you have been involved in a car, motorcycle, or bike accident, call the Law Office of Olga A. Koplik to schedule your FREE CONSULTATION and learn more about your rights and options.