Many would consider California drivers to be the luckiest in the nation. The state is a driver’s paradise with beautiful weather and scenic routes. Unfortunately, many locals understand this means that the roads are often congested, and car accidents are not uncommon. If you were in a recent California car accident, it is important to know how to report it properly and advance your claim. Follow these steps:
Stop and Check for Safety
The first step is to stop your vehicle as soon as it is safe. This is a crucial step because it is considered a crime to leave the scene of an accident in California. If you can move your vehicle to the side of the road, do so. If not, turn on your hazard lights to warn other drivers. Once you have moved to a safe and secure location, check yourself and your passengers for injuries. It is important to call 911 immediately to request medical assistance if anyone is injured.
Call the Police
Next, you should call the police to report the accident. The police will create a detailed report recalling the accident, which can be helpful later. Be sure to exchange your insurance details with the other driver involved in the accident. Your insurance company name, policy number, and contact information will be needed. It is also recommended to get the contact information of any witnesses to the accident. They can provide valuable testimony if required.
Document the Scene
After you’ve exchanged information with the other driver and any witnesses, you should take some time to document the accident scene. Take photos or videos of any damage you see on your vehicle, the other driver’s vehicle, and any property damaged in the accident. These photos can help support your claim later on by providing visual evidence of what happened that may be difficult to describe in words.
Contact Your Insurance Company
Once you have all the information, you should contact your insurance company to begin the claims process. Be sure to have all the required information on hand and any pictures or documentation you have collected. The conversation with your insurance company will likely be recorded, so be sure to be clear and concise when describing the accident.
When reporting the accident to the insurance company, you must also file a police report. This can be done by visiting your local police station or by calling the non-emergency line. The police report documents the details of the accident and can be used as evidence in your insurance claim.
Once you have officially sent the accident details to your insurance company and filed a police report, you will need to wait for the claims process to play out. This can take some time, so it is important to be patient. In the meantime, you should keep any documentation or evidence related to the accident in a safe place. This will ensure that you have everything you need when it is time to follow up on your claim.
Q: How long do I have to report a car accident in California?
A: You have 10 days to report a car accident in California. This is a strict deadline, so be sure that you have all the necessary information before starting the claims process. The sooner you report the accident, the easier it will be to proceed with your claim and earn the compensation you deserve.
Q: When should I talk to an attorney after an accident?
A: You should talk to an attorney as soon as possible after an accident. They can help you understand your rights and options and ensure that you are taking the appropriate steps to protect your interests. The average layperson may not be familiar with the ins and outs of car accident claims, so it’s always a good idea to have someone on your side who can help you navigate the process.
Q: What if I am not sure who is at fault for the accident?
A: If you are not sure who is at fault for the accident, you should still proceed with reporting the accident to your insurance company. They will likely have investigators who can help determine who is at fault. In the meantime, avoid admitting fault for the accident, as this could impact your ability to receive compensation.
Q: Should I report a car accident in CA?
A: You should report a car accident in California if it meets certain criteria. These include if there is property damage, bodily injury, or death. You should also report the accident if it occurred on a public road. If the accident occurs on private property, you may still need to report it to your insurance company.
Q: What if the other driver does not have insurance?
A: If the other driver does not have insurance, you may still be able to recover compensation through your own insurance policy. This is why it is important to have uninsured motorist coverage as part of your car insurance policy. You should also contact an attorney, as they may be able to help you recover compensation through other means.
Why Should I Consult an Attorney After a Car Accident?
The strategic guidance of an experienced car accident lawyer can be invaluable after you’ve been in a crash. Your lawyer will help advance the claims process, deal with the insurance companies, and fight for the compensation you deserve. From gathering indisputable evidence to negotiating with the at-fault driver’s insurance company, an attorney will handle every legal detail of your case so that you can focus on your recovery.
At Kreeger Law Firm, our team of car accident lawyers have decades of experience fighting for the rights of accident victims. We know what it takes to win, and we know what quality representation looks like. Contact us today for a consultation if you’ve been in a car accident. We’ll review the details of your case and advise you on the best course of action. You can reach us anytime — we’re ready to help you get the justice you deserve.