No matter how safe and careful a driver is in California, he or she can still get in a car accident. Being involved in an accident can be very scary, and the time immediately following a crash is usually highly stressful and emotional. However, what a driver does (and doesn’t do) after a car accident is important, especially if the driver was not at fault and wishes to pursue legal recourse for their injuries and property damage.
First steps following a crash
First, drivers should remain at the scene. Leaving the scene of a crash can result in legal consequences. If possible, drivers should move their vehicles from the road, or at least stand clear of the wreckage and get out of the road if the cars can’t be removed. Parties should also report the accident immediately by calling 911. California requires drivers to report an accident if anyone was injured or killed or if the damage to vehicles and property exceeds $1,000.
Any injured parties should seek immediate medical attention, and the person who reports the accident should notify dispatchers of any injuries at the scene so they can alert EMS. If possible, drivers should also exchange insurance information at the scene. However, drivers should not readily admit fault or even apologize for the crash, and they should not converse with other drivers, passengers or even eyewitnesses except only to exchange basic personal contact and insurance information.
Seeking legal support
Whether or not they are at fault, drivers do not have to say anything to anyone, including the police, without first consulting an attorney. Although a driver who was not at fault may want to report the accident to the at-fault driver’s insurance company, he or she should not answer questions or offer any information other than the basics. For help, any drivers and passengers injured in a crash in California because of the negligence or carelessness of another driver should contact an experienced personal injury attorney at the first opportunity.