Thousands of car accidents & crashes are reported in California every year. Even if you are a cautious and safe driver, you may end up in an accident that wasn’t your fault. Because of the likely impact of the crash, it can be hard to think straight. If you ever get injured in a car accident in Stockton, here are the steps to follow.
- Don’t leave the accident scene. If someone was injured or killed in the accident, do NOT leave the scene, until a law enforcement officer arrives. If you do, a ‘hit and run’ charge can be filed against you, which may result in heavy penalties, and/or up to one year of jail time.
- Get help. If you were injured, or someone else is in need of medical assistance, call 911 immediately. Don’t be afraid to move your car to a safer place, or helping other drivers and passengers in need.
- Take the details. If you feel okay, note down the details of drivers, passengers and vehicle occupants. Note down vehicle information, insurance details, and contact info. Check if there were any witnesses to the accident, so that you can get their details.
- File a report. If a police officer didn’t arrive at the scene, you need to file a car accident report with the California Highway Patrol within 24 hours. If you have sustained property damage, someone was injured or killed, report the accident to California DMV within 10 days.
- DO NOT ADMIT FAULT. Even if you had a share of fault, do NOT admit the same. Every car accident is unique, and unless you were 100% at fault, you may recover some compensation. Apologizing can actually go against you. Be cautious about what you share with the other party’s claims adjuster.
- Take photos. You need crucial evidence form the accident scene. Take photos of your injuries, damaged vehicles, and everything else pertaining to the case. This can come handy, if you decide to file a personal injury lawsuit against the driver at fault.
- Call a lawyer. No matter the circumstances, consider talking to an accident lawyer. Personal injury attorneys in Stockton often offer free consultation for clients, so you can always get an assessment of your case. They can also guide on the expected settlement, and your rights as the victim.
Call an accident lawyer soon after the accident. You have limited time to take action.