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What To Do After A Car Accident In Yuba City

What To Do After A Car Accident

What To Do After A Car Accident In Yuba City

Wondering what to do after a car accident in California?

Every year, car accidents in California claim the lives of thousands of people and leave many more injured.  In the first quarter of 2022 alone, there have been 3259 fatal crashes in California, making the state rank second in the list of ten states with the maximum number of such crashes.

These accidents can be caused by a variety of factors, such as drunk driving, speeding, and distracted driving.

Regardless of the cause, it can be difficult to know what to do after a car accident. If you suffered an injury as a result of another driver’s negligence, malice, or carelessness, here are the steps to take.

What to do after a car accident

The following steps will help make the process easier and help you protect yourself if you are involved in a car accident.

Stay calm

As we stated in the first sentence of this article, the first thing to do is to stay calm. Even though this is difficult, it is important to think clearly and make the right decisions at the scene of the accident and afterward.  The risk of making mistakes or rash decisions is higher when you are upset or panicking.

Take stock of injuries

Examine your injuries and if you are unhurt, heck that others in the car are okay.

Move to a safe spot

Depending on the exact location of the accident, you may have to move to a safe area nearby. If it is possible, move your car also to a safe spot to avoid getting hit by traffic or any other dangerous situations.

If you can, use warning triangles, flares, or cones for added safety. Turn on your car’s hazard lights.

Call the authorities

If you or others in the car are hurt, seek immediate medical assistance by calling 911.  If you are being taken to the Emergency Room by someone else,  leave your contact details with the parties involved in the accident, if you are able to. Even if you think you are not injured, it is important to get yourself thoroughly checked by a doctor. Some injuries may not be obvious immediately but can show up much later. Ensure you seek medical help within a few days of the accident.

Calling 911 is also important for police to respond as soon as possible. In California, the law mandates that the parties involved in vehicular accidents contact the highway patrol or police if there is a death or injury.

Remain in the area

Remaining at the scene of the accident till the police arrive is important for many reasons.

Leaving the scene of a car accident when there is the involvement of an injury can attract a hit-and-run charge. The penalty for a hit-and-run charge can go up to $10,000 in addition to a jail term of one year or more.

If there is only property damage as a result of the accident, you can leave the accident scene after you identify yourself to the involved parties. Not doing so can constitute a hit-and-run misdemeanor charge that attracts a $1,000 fine and a jail term of six months.

Remaining at the scene of the accident is also important as you can notify the police if the other driver has fled the scene. The police can then track the driver down, enabling you to file a claim with their insurer.

Even if the at-fault driver is never found, you can still recover damages from your insurance provider with comprehensive collision coverage.

Exchange information

n addition to providing your contact details to the parties involved in the accident, ensure you obtain the personal information of the other driver or drivers. Ask them to provide their name, contact information, and the insurance company. Also note down the car’s color, model, make, the year, and the VIN (Vehicle Identification Number).

You can find the VIN on the registration and insurance card of the driver.  If the driver consents, you can verify the same by looking into the dashboard and the side door where the VIN number is displayed.

Did anyone witness the car accident? Witness statements are critical to proving fault in case of a lawsuit and supporting your claim. Make sure you ask for the names, phone numbers, and addresses of witnesses and other passengers in the car.

While taking a picture of the witness’s driver’s license is an easy way of obtaining the contact information, verify that the DL information is current.

Take pictures

Before the vehicles involved are moved from the scene, take pictures of your car and the other vehicle that is involved in the accident. If the vehicles have to be moved immediately for safety reasons, ensure you photograph them after they are moved. This will help support the statements you make to the police and the insurance company.

To strengthen your case, capture pictures of the accident scene including the street signs, skid marks, traffic lights, broken glass, and so on.

Avoid posting these pictures on social media channels or sharing them with anyone else before talking to your attorney. Most importantly, store them in the cloud to ensure there is a backup of all the pictures.

what someone is doing after a car accident

Report the accident to your insurer

Per California law, vehicle owners need to obtain a 15/30/5 insurance coverage which means:

  • $15,000 coverage for the death or injury to one person
  • $30,000 coverage for the death or injury to one person
  • $5,000 in case of property damage

Most auto insurance companies require that you notify them of the accident within a reasonable timeframe. Depending on the insurer, this can mean within a couple of days or within a week. The sooner the insurance company gets to know, the sooner they can begin their investigations into the claim. If you fail to notify them in the required time frame, they may deny coverage.

Notify the DMV

As mandated by law in California, the DMV (Department of Motor Vehicles),  has to be notified within ten days if the car accident resulted in any of these:

  • $750 or more of property damage
  • death
  • injury

While you can report the accident to the DMV in person, you can also use the online form that the Department of Motor Vehicles provides on its website. Alternatively, you can report the incident over the phone.

Document all the details

If the accident has impacted your lifestyle or health adversely, document these in addition to the medication or doctor visits you need.  Keep a journal and note down details such as missed workdays, lifestyle changes such as having to use a crutch/wheelchair, and feelings of depression if any.

This will help you strengthen your claims of personal injury and recover damages related to economic and non-economic losses.

Economic damages relate to the loss of employment, income, business opportunity, medical expenses related to traumatic brain injury and other physical injuries, burial expenses, and repair of vehicles.

Non-economic damages are related to mental anguish, PTSD, pain, inconvenience, suffering, and emotional distress.

Avoid discussing the accident

While the above points answer the question ‘what to do after a car accident’ there are also things that you should avoid doing. This includes discussing the accident with people other than your lawyer, insurance company, or the police.

At the accident scene, avoid answering any questions if you are injured or too shaken to think clearly.  Stating inaccurate things can compromise your claims later on.

If you are unsure of any of the details of the accident when you are questioned by the police officer on the scene, say so.

Avoid admitting your fault

Most importantly, even if you think the accident was your fault, avoid apologizing or admitting your fault to anyone.   In California, the law of ‘pure comparative negligence’ applies when both parties are at fault.

If you are partially at fault for an accident, you can still recover damages from the other party. This is done by assessing each party’s percentage of fault and awarding damages accordingly. For example, if you are found to be 25 percent at fault for an accident, you can recover 75 percent of the total damages awarded to you.

Your car accident attorney in Yuba City will examine the pictures you have taken, the police report, and the witness statements to advise you on your ‘share’ of the fault.

And finally, avoid signing any documents such as those given by the other party’s insurance company. Before signing or discussing anything, contact your car accident attorney.

Contact your car accident lawyer in Yuba City

If you have been injured in a car accident in California, it is important to know your rights. You may be entitled to compensation for your injuries, including medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering. A qualified California car accident lawyer can help you get the compensation you deserve.

  • Advising the next steps: Contacting your car accident lawyer as soon as you can is the best way to know what to do after a car accident. Apart from advising you on what you should document, they will advise you not to discuss the details of the incident.
  • Negotiating with the insurance company: While notifying your insurance company is important, note that they do not have your best interests when determining the quantum of the settlement. Their priority is to minimize the settlement, which may be far too less than what you are entitled to.  Your attorney will also be able to negotiate on your behalf with your insurance company, after thoroughly evaluating the case.
  • Determining your liability: Your car accident lawyer also evaluates the specific circumstances of the accident to see which rules were not adhered to, and by whom. Some of the common causes of car accidents include:
  • Impaired driving-DUI (Driving under the influence) contributes to thousands of car accidents each year.  According to the NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration), one-third of all fatalities related to traffic accidents involve drunk drivers. In 2020, over 11,654 people were killed in preventable crashes.   In California alone, about 25 percent of fatalities in traffic accidents are attributed to alcohol-related accidents. The other major contributor to car accidents is drug use.
  • Speeding– One of the most common causes of car accidents is speeding which reduces the driver’s control over the vehicle and their reaction time. In 2020, about 29 percent of fatalities related to traffic accidents were due to speeding.
  • Driver distraction – Texting, talking over the phone, or eating food while driving is the forms of distracted driving that are among the top causes of car accidents.  Here are some of the other factors your car accident attorney will evaluate before filing a claim.
  • Driving too fast for the road conditions
  • Failure to scan the roadway ahead
  • Vehicles hitting the pedestrian
  • Inclement weather conditions
  • Drowsy driving
  • Inexperienced driver
  • Equipment malfunction
  • Filing a lawsuit: In case of bodily injury or property damage, your car accident attorney will take the appropriate steps to file a lawsuit within the required time frame. In California, victims have two years to file a lawsuit in case of bodily injury and 3 years to file a case for property damage. Not adhering to these timelines can end up in the case getting dismissed. A Yuba City car accident attorney focuses on helping you recover the maximum amount in a lawsuit to ensure you receive the medical care you need.

Get in touch with us. Speak With A Car Accident Lawyer Today!

If you have recently been in a car accident, you may be feeling overwhelmed and unsure of what to do next. This article provides a list of steps to take after a car accident.

Whether the injuries or property damage is minor or extensive, the importance of specialized legal assistance cannot be emphasized more. At the Law Offices of Steve Gimblin, we offer top-notch legal services for victims of car accidents in California.  With a “no win no fee” guarantee, we are able to offer the best legal services that are designed to maximize your recovery and well-being.

We have a team of experienced attorneys who are dedicated to helping you get the best possible outcome for your case. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation.

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