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California Traffic Accident - What You Need to Know

California Traffic Accident – What You Need to Know


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When involved in a traffic accident in California, it is crucial to follow certain steps to avoid further complications and damage or injury. The first thing the person needs to do is assess the entire situation and determine what to do next based on the specific situation such as injury, possible damage to the vehicle or if the car is in oncoming traffic.

The First Steps
After an accident, the individual behind the wheel must assess the damage. If anyone is hurt or dead, the driver will need to contact emergency services. If the vehicle is in the middle of traffic, he or she may need to either move the car out of the way or get the passengers to safety. Investigating the damage is important for both medical help and for either making a claim or when contacting the insurance company. The operator of the car must also understand what happened before contacting the police or an insurance company immediately about the incident. If another person suffered harm, he or she may need to check on this individual.

Reporting the Accident
It is a requirement to contact police about the incident when another driver has some involvement in the incident to include a collision of any kind in usual circumstances. The person who is conscious will need to contact the police or the California Highway Patrol when in an unincorporated area. The accident report is another crucial factor if the driver needs to pursue a claim against the other driver for the responsibility of the accident and subsequent injuries. While the individual may not think of these things when hurt, he or she will still need to follow standard procedure for these collisions.

Exchanging Information
When the driver is done assessing the accident, he or she will then often exchange details with the other driver. If there is no need for emergency medical assistance, this step is usually the second one taken by both drivers. This exchange requires the driver’s license, registration card, insurance card with a current policy and address details. Both may exchange phone numbers as well as other details if necessary. In certain circumstances, the California driver may provide evidence of financial responsibility in the accident to further progress the case. This is an important aspect of pursuing a claim in the courts.

A More Serious Accident
If the driver faces a more serious accident with severe injury or death, he or she may have other problems at the beginning through the end of a claim. The Department of Motor Vehicles will require a report within ten days’ time for any death, injury or property damage in excess of $1000. The driver will need to report the claim with an insurance agent and contact a lawyer to complete certain processes. This may require a Report of Traffic Accident Occurring in California form or an SR-1 paper. This is in addition to all other reports, contacting the police and proceeding through administrative agencies and processes.

The Important Details for Later
When at the scene of the accident, the injured party will need to collect as much as possible for later use. This includes the usual exchange of information with the other driver. However, the injured will also need the time and place, the plate number and state of the other driver, and the additional names and personal info of the policyholder if not the driver. The victim may need the vehicle owners name and address as well and a full explanation of the property damage and injury sustained. Some of this helps with an SR-1 for California incidents and other data can assist with a future claim against the other driver.

The Last Steps
When there is no or little traffic, the driver may move the car last. The other last steps may involve actually talking to the police and getting a copy of the police report. Others will need to make a trip to the local precinct for this paperwork. Then, once all these steps are complete, the driver injured in the accident may need to contact the DMV to report the accident or give additional details such as the collision happened on private property or the extent of the injuries.
The Legal Support for a California Traffic Accident
When a claim or possible settlement is the next step, the injured person will need to hire a lawyer in California to begin this process. He or she will need strong evidence for a reasonable settlement with the insurance company or for the court case.

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Comments 1

  • Jerry Munoz

    July 26, 2019 7:38 pm · Reply

    Driving on California’s highways can be a risky proposition.  Whenever you are in a vehicle, there’s a risk of being 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.  This guide discusses what to do after an accident and what to expect when you file a claim with your insurance company. 


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