“IMMEDIATE ACTION” REQUIRED
Did you know that over 80 to 100 Americans pass on from accidents daily? An equivalent to approximately 32,000 deaths in a year. The California office of traffic safety reports accident injuries and deaths hiking to over 90,000 annually.
Blame it on negligence or ignorance, but many people don’t exactly know what to do when an accident occurs. It’s vital for state citizens to take action immediately after an accident happens due to the law, and because it’s the right thing to do.
Read more and find out what steps you should take if you’re involved in a car accident in Los Angeles.
What’s Next After an Accident in Los Angeles
All too often, we hear cases of people who’ve had an accident, and the driver ran away, and no claims were made. By law, that’s a serious offense, punishable by a jail term not exceeding one year or a penalty of about $10,000.
That doesn’t have to be you; learn how to go about the situation the right way with this step by step guide below.
- Seek Help After Impact
Immediately after a car accident, you’re required by law to remain on scene and seek medical assistance for an injured victim on site. For personal injuries, call 911; you will have to provide information about the accident.
In the case of property damage, you will need to call the police. If the damage isn’t much, you can exchange contacts with the other party and resume compensation talks later.
If you flee the scene of the accident before issues are solved, you can face either a hit and run lawsuit or a misdemeanor hit and run suit by the state of California.
- Recapture the Scene of the Accident
This a great time to start gathering data for any insurance claims. Move the car aside to unblock traffic or call for a tow truck. Get information about the other driver, including name and address.
Capture the make and model of the car that hit you or you hit, the license plate, year or identification number. Take pictures or video records of the damages that occurred.
This information is also essential for the California accident report that shall be reported to California DMV.
You can also ask to view insurance details and other personal information on the other driver. Capture statements from witnesses and any information from a police officer who came to the scene.
- Inform Your Insurance Company
After all the data has been compiled, it’s now time to inform your insurance provider about the accident. It’s imperative that they get informed regardless of injuries to either parties or property damages.
The California 3rd party liability cover will come in handy to cater for any expenses from the accident. Note that under no circumstance should you claim fault of the accident. This could deter you from compensatory damages, and the traffic accident law of shared responsibility won’t be able to protect you.
It’s also good to point out that it’s not the right time to claim no personal injuries were sustained as some may be felt later on like soft tissue injuries. Just leave this section open in case of any payments.
- Time to Call a Lawyer
It’s not mandatory to call a lawyer but it’s probably the safest option for you. If you were involved in a car accident and you don’t know what to do, a lawyer can guide you through the California car accident laws to ensure you get fully compensated for any damages.
The attorney plays a huge role when you’re bargaining for the right and proper compensation, especially for personal injuries. Claim adjusters will analyze coverage for both hard and soft tissue injuries to the victims.
The personal injury attorney can get records on the driver in cases where they have been involved in more than one; they can read through sensitive information, and offer you the best deals from the accident.
- Report the Accident to the DMV
Auto accident laws require victims to report accidents within ten days of occurrence. You need to provide specific details, including if people were hurt and the property damage, along with the costs incurred on damages.
One can download the DMV form SR1 online and fill it out before heading to the office. Failure to report accidents can cause indefinite suspension of the driver’s license for about a year.
- Out of Pocket Payments
Sometimes the accident isn’t fatal and can be catered for from the pocket. In such a case, one is allowed to avoid all these legal procedures and just get to an understanding with the other driver over the costs to be incurred.
Such accidents may also be seen as fender bender accidents where the police are also not required to come to the scene of the accident. If you are in this type of accident in Los Angeles, then you are safe from insurance claims and other costs.
- The Necessity of a Small Claims Court
In some cases, money is a huge factor. If there is substantial damage to property or personal injuries are quite severe, then the court may be an option. The lawyer won’t be required to be present if you don’t want to retain them.
The court will be a viable option for you when:
- Insurance from the faulty driver denies payment.
- A case of an uninsured or underinsured driver.
- The settlement fee is below the expected amount of compensation.
- You’re finding it difficult to get a lawyer to represent you.
An accident is a sad occurrence. And sometimes you want justice done or you want to move on with life. Either way, doing things the right way is what’s best. For any more questions and illustrations, have a look at these frequently asked questions.
Maximize Your Compensation
Nobody is looking to score cash from an accident, but it’s always best to remain protected and to seek the right compensation from it. Every state has its regulations; that’s why you have to understand the law when it comes to dealing with an accident in Los Angeles.
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