When motor vehicle accidents occur in California, there are strict rules in place about proper conduct after an accident. Drivers cannot leave the scene of a crash without trading information or notifying the authorities, and hit-and-run charges may follow for a driver who leaves the scene prematurely even when not at fault. Here are some recommendations for steps to take if involved in a car accident that results in injuries.
If someone else is injured following a collision, one is expected to offer reasonable assistance. Depending on a victim's injuries, another individual may not be able to offer much help as one should not perform first-aid procedures unless certified to do so. However, one could still call 911 or turn on a vehicle's hazard lights to warn others of an accident.
One should find out as much as possible at the scene of an accident if able. Along with a driver's personal, vehicle and insurance information, one should collect information about passengers in another vehicle and witnesses as well. Additionally, one can ask an officer when and where to get the crash's accident report and record the officer's badge number. If it is safe, taking pictures of an accident and drawing a diagram could be useful. Note skid marks, stop signs, traffic lights, crosswalks and where both cars started and ended up.
The information one gathers after a wreck might become important later if one suffered injuries. After car accidents occur, injured parties may be entitled to compensation if outside negligence caused the crash. Having as many details as possible might help an attorney contact an insurance company and build a case if necessary. Police reports and witness statements could help show that a defendant's actions caused a wreck, and one might be offered an appropriate settlement before trial.