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Any California car accident lawyer will tell you that on average around 14,000 car accidents happen every day in the United States. In fact, at some point in their lives, a high percentage of US drivers will find themselves involved in a car accident, be it a minor bump or full-on collision. After a road accident has occurred, it can often be disorientating and you’ll probably be quite shaken up, making it all too easy to forget some of the basic legal steps you need to take directly following such an auto accident in California.
Here are some of the most common car accident mistakes people make when they find themselves in the midst of a auto accident:
When you find yourself involved in a car accident, particularly if no-one has been hurt and the damage isn’t too severe, it’s common to want to check your car looking for dents and scratches, and maybe come to an arrangement with the other driver where you agree to handle this on your own without involving the authorities. This is a mistake, because in many states, including California, it is illegal for you to leave the scene of an accident without first having reported it to the police. In fact, not reporting your car accident to the police could land you with a considerable fine, or even jail time.
Another good reason for contacting the police is so you will have a trusted record of exactly what happened. This is for the protection of both parties, as if the accident is the other driver’s fault, they could later come back to you or your insurance company charging you with the blame. Getting a legal police report documenting who was at fault and exactly what happened will ensure you won’t have any unexpected accusations flying at you in the future.
You may not think this is a common mistake, but believe it or not, some people do leave the scene without taking down the other driver’s details for insurance purposes, which could render their insurance claim useless. Don’t make that mistake, and be sure to ask the driver for their full name and proof of ID, as well as contact and insurance details.
Don’t wait to file a claim – it is important call your insurance company as soon as possible in order to start your claim. It may not be the first thing on your mind, and you may think it can wait a day or two, but don’t delay. Your insurance company will also be able to provide you with advice and ensure you are kept on the right track, avoiding any further potentially disastrous mistakes.
You can pick up injuries from even the most minor accidents, including things which might not be noticeable at first, such as whiplash or concussion. It’s also important to seek medical attention immediately for insurance purposes as if you leave it too late, companies may decline to pay for the bill.
Photographic evidence of the accident scene, and any injuries you may have sustained, can also be incredibly helpful if anything comes back to you down the line – say, if the other driver decides the accident was your fault. If you have a camera to hand, or even just your mobile phone, try to take as many photos of the scene as you can, in order to show a full picture of what happened. You may also wish to take photos of any bruises or injuries in the days following the accident, just so you have them on record.
It is common for parties involved in a road collision to decide not to contact a California car accident lawyer and just deal with the damage on their own. However, it’s also common for one of the parties to change their mind after reaching this agreement, go home and contact a personal injury attorney in order to chase the other person who may or may not be at fault. If this were to happen to you, you would eventually need to hire an attorney anyway, giving the other person the advantage. Get a larger settlement after a car accident, call The May Firm today.
If you take the risk of not contacting a California car accident lawyer straight away, the other person could have collected evidence and information needed to file their case, giving their attorney a leg up in the courtroom. In order to give yourself the best possible chance, you should contact a California car accident lawyer at can trust at The May Firm at your earliest possible convenience after a car accident.
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