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What should I do if I am in a car accident?

If you have ever been involved in a crash, you know the sickening feeling that the sound of crunching metal can bring. The aftermath can be confusing and leave those who are involved disoriented, which is why it is important for all California drivers to know what to do before they find themselves in this situation. The State Bar of California details things you should know in case of an accident.


First, always call 911. Even if nobody is hurt, you will need to request that an officer be sent to the scene. Sometimes, drivers do not realize they are injured right away, which is why it is important for help to be alerted before things get serious.


Next, you will need to report the accident. Record all the details while being careful not to assign blame. You will need to let your attorney know what happened so he or she can work with your insurance company to arrange appropriate compensation. You should also get any information from the drivers of involved vehicles and other people on the scene, including:


  • The names and phone numbers of any witnesses and what they saw
  • The badge number and name of the police officer who arrived to help
  • The phone number and address of any other drivers involved and their insurance companies
  • The license plate number, vehicle identification number, make, model and year of any other cars involved


Sometimes, drivers who were involved in an accident will flee the scene. If this happens to you, be sure to write down the vehicle type and license plate number so you can give this information to the police officer. This information is intended to educate drivers and is not meant as legal advice.

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