California claims the highest state population in the United States, which unquestionably adds to the number of accidents. What’s more, California is also home to Los Angeles, the nation’s second-most populated metropolis. Due to the vast number of automobiles and drivers, it goes without saying that California is a national epicenter for collisions.
In addition, California has one of the highest rates of road fatalities in the country. In almost 3,260 car accidents in 2020, drivers, passengers, and pedestrians perished. This amount is second only to the approximately 3,900 fatalities in Texas.
Moreover, the California Highway Patrol estimated that over 150,000 incidents resulted in injuries and 2,800 accidents resulted in deaths annually.
With approximately 3,000 fatalities each year, California is one of the top three states in the United States in terms of the number of deaths arising from traffic accidents. It is widely believed that the majority of deaths resulting from automobile accidents could be prevented if drivers did not make the mistakes that lead to them, such as making poor decisions on the road, failing to pay attention to their surroundings, failing to use safety equipment, and driving while fatigued or intoxicated.
Remain at the Accident Scene
So, what should you do after a collision? If someone was hurt or killed, wait at the site of the accident until the police arrive unless you need emergency medical treatment.
If you left the site of an accident when someone was injured, you might be prosecuted with hit-and-run. Include a fine of up to $10,000 and imprisonment for up to one year (more if the injury is serious or someone dies).
If it seems that the only injury is property damage, you are permitted to leave the accident site after identifying yourself with the parties involved. Failure to identify oneself is a misdemeanor hit-and-run offense in California. Penalties may include a $1,000 fine and/or up to six months in prison.
Contact the police if the other involved driver(s) departed the scene. If the authorities are able to locate them, you may make a claim against their insurance company. However, if you have uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage and/or comprehensive collision coverage, you may be able to collect damages from your own insurance if the at-fault driver is never identified.
Seek Medical Care Following an Accident
Do not wait for the police if you are hurt and need quick medical attention. Call 911 or have someone else call on your behalf. If possible, leave your contact information with the other driver(s) if you are being transported to the emergency room by another person.
And if it is safe to do so, you must transfer your vehicle to the shoulder or another safe location. Vehicles that obstruct traffic might result in further injury to you or others.
However, you should leave the vehicles in place if relocating them would be hazardous.
If someone is killed or gravely wounded, you should also leave the automobiles where they are and wait for police authorities unless the cars constitute a substantial danger.
Sharing Contact Details at the Accident Scene
Once you have relocated the automobiles (if applicable) and/or obtained medical care for the wounded, record or picture the following:
- The license plate numbers of each additional car involved in the collision,
- The year, make, model, and color of the other vehicle(s), and if feasible, the Vehicle Identification Number of the other vehicle(s) (VIN).
- You will need this information to report the accident to the California DMV as required by law.
Typically, the VIN appears on a driver’s insurance card and registration. However, it is prudent to verify it personally, particularly if the driver is uninsured.
If the other motorist refuses to comply, do not try to get the VIN from his or her car. It is unwise to touch another person’s car without permission.
You may locate the VIN on the dashboard of the driver’s side (where it meets the windshield) and inside the driver’s side door (where the door latches when it is closed).
Request the other driver’s license, proof of insurance, and registration. If possible, photograph these papers. Otherwise, record the figures.
Additionally, if feasible, you should collect the contact information of everyone else who was involved in or observed the accident. If a law enforcement officer arrives at the scene, get the officer’s name and record it.
Regardless of who was at fault for the accident, you must exchange information with the other motorist.
Note that you must provide your driver’s license, proof of insurance, and registration to the police upon request. Otherwise, you may be subject to penalties.
What About Fault in Accidents?
Even if you believe the accident was your fault, it is imperative not to acknowledge any wrongdoing.
First, you may be mistaken about who is at fault. Or, under California’s “joint fault/pure comparative negligence” rule, the other motorist may also have some responsibility. Or the issue might be a result of poor road design, negligent highway construction, or manufacturer or service provider carelessness.
In fact, even apologizing might be misinterpreted and prevent you from receiving compensation from your or the other driver’s insurance provider. However, you should inquire whether the other motorist is wounded or needs medical aid.
But if the other motorist is pressuring you to take responsibility for the collision, kindly request that he or she contact your insurance company.
Contact Beckerman Anderson
Accidents involving motor vehicles that result in severe injuries are potentially catastrophic. They are often concerned about who will pay for their medical expenses and how their families will be maintained throughout their recuperation. Fortunately, a legal firm specializing in personal injury with an Orange County auto accident attorney can offer you vital advice about preserving evidence and preparing your case. Automobile crash claims are our courts’ most prevalent kind of personal injury lawsuit today.
If you or a loved one has been involved in a car accident, do not hesitate to seek legal advice from lawyers specializing in auto accident cases to protect your interests to the greatest extent possible. You may be eligible for compensation for medical expenses, property damage, salary loss, and pain and suffering. Our vehicle accident lawyers at Beckerman Anderson may be reached at 949-409-4242.