Would you know what to do if you were driving and hit another vehicle? A pedestrian? When a California car accident happens, injuries may be severe and emotions may be high. However, there are important things that must be taken care of both at the scene of any accident and soon afterward. Following is a SHORT list of things that should be done, if at all possible, when any California automobile accident occurs.
Stay at the Scene of the Accident
The cardinal rule for all car accidents is that you should never leave the scene until it is appropriate to do so. If you leave the scene of an accident, particularly where someone has sustained injuries or was killed, you can face serious criminal penalties for being a "hit-and-run" driver. Exception to this rule: If you are hit by another car in a deserted area, use caution in stopping and getting out of your vehicle. Unfortunately, there have been reported incidents where a person exited their vehicle in a deserted or unsafe area after being bumped by another car only to be robbed or killed. Instead of getting out of the car if you find yourself in that situation, drive to the nearest police station to report the accident. If it turns out that you were being over-cautious and the other driver had no ill intentions, you may be embarrassed, but you will also be safe. Safety first is key!
Check on All Drivers and Passengers (Make sure no one needs medical care-if so call an ambulance!)
Before assessing property damage to your car or anyone else's car, check to make sure that everyone else involved in the accident is okay (medically speaking). Get medical attention for anyone who may need it, and if a person is unconscious or complains of neck or back pain, it is best not to move them until qualified medical personnel arrive. In some situations, for example if an injured person is lying in a pool of gas that you fear may ignite at any time, you may have no choice but to move them. If you are in that type of situation, try to move them as steadily and slowly as possible while supporting their neck and back. The less movement, the better.
Call the Police!
This is especially if the accident involves significant property damage, physical injury, or death, you may need to call the police. Ask that a police report be filed in situations where law enforcement officers do arrive at the scene, and obtain the name and badge numbers of any responding officers.
Mark C. Blane is a San Diego Auto Accident Attorney, and the managing lawyer of the Law Offices of Mark C. Blane, a San Diego, California Personal Injury Law Firm devoted to representing families of injured persons of automobile accidents. If you or someone you love, has been injured or killed in San Diego County, or Southern California, due to the negligence of another, please order your FREE copy of Mr. Blane's book, The 10 Secrets You Need To Know About Your Injury Case, BEFORE You Call A Lawyer. It is full of helpful information, insights, and secrets that will help you protect your legal rights. It normally sells for $16.95; however, it is free to all California residents, or those injured in a California accident.