WHAT TO DO AFTER A CAR ACCIDENT
Automobile Accident Attorney, Stockton CA
Car Accident Attorney in Stockton
When you’ve been involved in a car accident, you might be overwhelmed with feelings of fear, anger, confusion, stress and pain among so much more. There are certain things you should always keep in mind if you’ve been involved in a vehicle accident. The first thing you should do is seek medical attention if you’ve been injured and then contact a car accident attorney in Stockton.
Do I have to stop?
Yes. Under California law, you are required to stop whether you collided with another car, a pedestrian, or someone else’s property. If you do not stop, you could be charged with hit and run, even if it wasn’t your fault! Depending on the severity of damages to individuals and property, hit and run charges may result in a fine, jail time, or both.
Do I have to give anyone my information?
Yes. Under California law, you are required to exchange your name, your driver’s license number, the vehicle’s identification number, the name and address of the car’s owner, the name and address of your insurance company, and your insurance policy number or some other evidence of financial responsibility.
What information should I get from the other person?
Be sure to get the same information you gave them as well as as much additional information you can, such as:
- Date of birth
- License number
- License expiration date
- The vehicle’s identification number
- The name and address of the car’s owner
- The name and address of their insurance company
- Their insurance policy number
- The other car’s make, model, license plate number and expiration date, the vehicle’s identification number
- The name, contact information, and insurance information of the car’s owner if different from the driver
What other information should I gather at the scene?
- The names and contact information of any nearby witnesses. Ask them to stay to make a statement to the police. If they must leave, ask them to describe the incident and leave a contact number.
- If there are witnesses that don’t want to get involved or tell you their names, don’t push them. Just ask if they have any information, especially if it was a hit and run and they saw the other car.
- The name and badge number of the police officer(s) that arrive on the scene. Ask them when you can get a report.
- TAKE PICTURES. If you can’t take pictures, draw a diagram of the scene – don’t forget skid marks. Try to be as accurate as possible. Take note of the weather and any other conditions, such as the time of day and how well-lit the area is. A Sacramento car accident lawyer uses evidence like this to prove liability.
- Precisely record the time, date, and place of the accident. Try to estimate your speed at the time of the incident. The sooner you write down your own report, the more accurate it is likely to be.
What if the property owner can’t be found?
If you collide with an individual’s property and that individual cannot be located, you may leave the scene so long as you leave behind your name, address, an explanation of the accident, and the name and address of the car’s owner if it’s not you. This information must be left in an obvious location so that the property owner will see it and it won’t be lost by some natural cause, such as wind.
You also must inform the local police or highway patrol ASAP. If an officer does not come to the location of the collision, you must go to the police department and file a report yourself. A car accident attorney in Stockton will use this report to help fight your case.
What if someone is injured?
You are required to help an injured person from a collision. First check yourself, then try to help someone else. Stay calm. Breathe deeply – you will probably feel some amount of shock. You may need to call an ambulance or take the individual to the hospital yourself, so long as that person is not severely injured. If an individual is severely hurt do not try to move this person unless moving them will prevent further harm such as vehicle collision or fire, even if this moving worsens their initial injury.
What if I don’t have a phone?
If you cannot place a call for help, try to indicate to passing vehicles that there is a problem. Place flares on the road, so long as there is nothing flammable nearby. Turn on your hazard lights and pop your hood. Try to flag down a passing car.
What do I say to 911?
Try to get an idea of where you are – can you see street signs? If you’re on the highway, is there a sign for nearby towns, or can you see at what mile marker you are? It’s important to try to be as precise as possible when explaining where you are to the 911 operator as their location systems are not always perfectly accurate. Explain what happened and whether you need an ambulance or a firetruck. Do not hang up until the operator tells you it is okay to. Stay calm and follow the operator’s directions.
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