The claim begins the moment of the crash. It is vital that at the scene of an accident you do not admit guilt, or begin to argue with other drivers over who is at fault.
Each state decides for itself whether it will adopt fault or no-fault laws. There are only 12 no-fault states. California is not one of them. Rather, it is a fault state or a tort state. All drivers in California are required to carry a minimum auto insurance coverage plan. It must cover personal injury and property damage. In California, being a fault state, this means that the people involved in the accident need to file a claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company.
In fact, at the scene of an accident, the most important thing to do is call 911. That begins the process of filing your claim.
Get a Police Report
When the police arrive they will document the damage and injuries, and ask all the drivers and passengers involved questions about the crash. They will also speak to witnesses. You need to have a copy of this report in order to file it with your insurance company. You want to be sure to stay at the scene the entire time until the police leave, unless you have injuries that need immediate attention, to ensure that no changes were made after you left.
The crash must also be reported to the California DMV within 10 days if anyone was injured or killed, or if there was more than $1,000 worth of property damage caused by the collision. It does not matter who caused the accident; both drivers must report.
Stick To The Facts
It is very easy to get worked up after a car accident. Answer the questions that are asked of you truthfully and as accurately as you can. Do not assign blame to anyone else, nor admit that you caused the accident.
You will want to get the other driver’s name, address, phone number, and information about their insurance policy, such as the policy number and the company.
Contact The At-Fault Driver’s Insurance
If the police have determined who is at fault then you must contact the insurance company of the at-fault driver. If you were unable to get the insurance information from the other driver, or if you’re not sure who is at fault, then your own insurance company may be able to help you.
Seek Medical Attention
If you delay seeing a doctor and symptoms show up hours or days later, such as life-threatening internal bleeding or neck pain. The longer you delay, the more likely the injury will get worse. Some injuries are not obvious and will require a medical doctor to diagnose them. Also, having documentation of your injury as it progresses or heals is a vital piece of evidence that can help your case. The at-fault driver’s insurance company may claim that your injuries were the result of another incident if you report much later on.
Hire an Attorney
California has very complex fault laws. An experienced and compassionate attorney who has helped a variety of clients is ready to help you. If you want to learn about how a personal injury attorney in California can help you then you can find more information here.