The one thing you cannot protect yourself from is other drivers. We make split-second decisions in our vehicles every day and sometimes they result in a fender bender regardless of good habits and precaution. Here are 5 ways to protect yourself, know your rights, and deal with a car accident.
Call the police.
Besides needing assistance, the police act as a bipartisan helper. They will collect the information you cannot and also help stop traffic. A police officer on the scene is a friend indeed.
Never admit fault.
When you find yourself in a car accident, you are hopefully not injured, but very alarmed regardless. Emotions can be at an all-time high because of stress and trauma. Never admit fault to the accident, despite your emotions. You have no legal obligation to tell your side of the event at the scene. Instead, wait for law enforcement, gather insurance information, and seek medical treatment if needed.
Take pictures and protect the scene.
Many of us travel with a camera in our pocket. If you are in an accident, take pictures. The more information that is readily available the better. Use your phone to document the scene as best as possible. In California, the Law of Negligence, “denotes the failure of a person to exercise reasonable care while driving.” This means distracted driving while texting, taking selfies, and other reckless nature is reason to cause fault- make sure to take pictures of the damage and license plates.
Report the accident to your insurance company.
California is a fault state, meaning the more information regarding the incident the better. This also means collecting insurance information is very important. Besides taking photos, make sure to contact your insurance company. If the accident is above $750 dollars you must also notify the DMV. Easier said than done but calm and collected is best as you gather necessary information.
Consult a lawyer.
If you have sustained injury call a lawyer. If after an injury you experience persistent headaches, dizziness, loss of memory, vomiting, changes in personality, sleep problems, nausea, concentration problems, attention problems, irritability, and depression, please do not hesitate to contact a professional. There are a lot of questions to answer after an accident and we are here to help.