What NOT To Do Following a Car Accident
- Do not Speak To The Other Driver’s Insurance Company Without A Lawyer (EVER!!!!!)
- Do not drive away (EVER!!!!!)
- Do not Forget To Collect Information
- Do not Forget To Take Photographs
- Do not Forget To call 911
- Do not Forget To call the Police
- Do not Underestimate How Bad You’ve Been Hurt
- Do not apologize (Do not Admit Fault Without Having All The Facts)
Do not drive away from the scene of a car accident because doing so may be a crime under California law. Even if you don’t believe any harm has been done, it is important to stop somewhere safe after a car accident. California Vehicle Code section 20001 is the California law that defines the crime of felony hit and run with injury. In California, it is a crime for a person to flee the scene of a car accident in which another person has been injured or killed. If the accident is property damage only, then California law allows prosecution as a misdemeanor hit and run under California Vehicle Code section 20002. In any event, you should make sure to not drive away from the scene of the accident until you have exchanged information with the other driver, called the local police to report the incident, and taken photographs.
Do not forget to take photographs of the damages to the vehicle and to your body. Take at least four photographs of your vehicle, four photographs of the other person’s vehicle. Take at least four photographs of the scene of the collision. Make sure to try and capture the entire scene with both vehicles. If you moved your vehicles, just take a photo of where your vehicle was at prior to moving it. If you have any bruises on your body from the seatbelt or from hitting your body on the inside of the vehicle, or broken glass, etc., take photographs. Key things to remember are: take down the other driver’s license plate, year, make, model and color of vehicle, driver’s license information, insurance information, registration, contact information such as phone and home address.
Do not forget to call 911. This is an easy step. Always call 911 and let the emergency personnel direct you with what to do next. This is important for your safety. Sometimes, a person can have life threatening injuries and it does not show right away. Internal bleed sometimes does not show symptoms right away and can become life-threatening. If you are asked if there are any injuries, do not say you are not hurt. Even if you think that you do not have any injuries, a lot of the time, the pain from being involved in a car accident develops hours after the collision occurred. If you are unsure if you are hurt or do not feel immediate pain, you should say that you do not know and that it is a good idea to get checked out by a doctor to make sure everything is okay internally.
Do not forget to call the police. Often times the police will come to the scene and take down a traffic collision report. Even though traffic collision reports are rarely allowed into the court of law (in front of a jury), they are a vital part of helping your case. The officer responding to the scene of the accident will take down important information with people involved, measurements, point of impact, roadway conditions, cause of collision (fault), recommendations.
Do not underestimate how bad you’ve been hurt. After being involved in an accident, your body has adrenaline pumping and that causes you not to feel immediate pain. It is only until a few hours later that you start to feel the effects of an automobile accident. It is always recommended that you seek medical care after an accident and follow up with the recommended care if you feel pain last.
Do not apologize (do not admit fault without having all the facts). A lot of time saying “I’m sorry” can mean that you are apologizing because you feel like you had some fault in the accident. Never do this because you can never know the facts right after an accident. This is why call 911 and the police to the scene is so important. Instead of saying, I’m sorry or admitting fault, just check on the other person to make sure they are okay and ask if they need any assistance. Let them know you have call the local police/911 and to hang tight until the first responders arrive. Do not start to discuss the accident with the other driver. Even when you think the accident was your fault, it is very important that you do not admit to any wrongdoing because you may be wrong or the other driver may have some fault as well. California is a Comparative Fault state. This means that a person injured in an accident can still recover damages even when he or she is partially to blame for the accident
Do not speak to the other driver’s insurance company without a lawyer (EVER!!!!!) Never speak to the other person’s insurance company by yourself. Never give the other person’s insurance company a recorded statement. The other person’s insurance company DOES NOT have your interests in mind. The other person’s insurance company does not care about you. The other person’s insurance company’s goal is to put blame on you. The more blame they can put on you, the less money they will pay you. Never speak to the other party’s insurance. California is a pure comparative fault state. Victims can still recover some damages even if they are 99% at fault for the accident. This contrasts with a modified comparative fault doctrine, applied in some other states, that bar plaintiffs from recovering damages if they are 50% or more at fault. Ultimately, when parties are not in agreement to the percentage of fault, then the jury decides what percentage of the person’s own negligence contributed to the damages.
Consult with an Experienced Car Accident Attorney
Always be sure to consult with an experienced attorney if you or a loved one has been involved in a car accident to avoid any legal pitfalls. Our legal team has over 100 years of experience combined. We offer FREE consultations, don’t hesitate to contact us today.