Auto Accident

Essential Steps to Follow After a Vehicle Accident

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Vehicle accidents can be a stressful and traumatic experience for anyone involved. If you live in California, there are specific laws and regulations that you should be aware of if you are involved in a car accident. Here are some frequently asked questions (FAQs) about vehicle accidents in California.

What should I do immediately after a car accident?

The first thing you should do after a car accident is to check if anyone is injured and call 911. It's also important to exchange contact and insurance information with the other driver. If there are any witnesses to the accident, get their contact information as well. Take photos of the damage to both vehicles and the accident scene. It's also important to report the accident to your insurance company.

Do I need to report the accident to the DMV?

If the accident resulted in property damage exceeding $1,000 or any injury or death, you must report the accident to the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) within 10 days. Failure to report the accident may result in a suspension of your driver's license.

Who is at fault in a car accident?

Determining who is at fault in a car accident is not always straightforward. California follows a comparative fault system, which means that if you are found to be partially at fault for the accident, your compensation may be reduced by the percentage of your fault. However, if you are found to be more than 50% at fault, you may not be eligible for any compensation.

Do I need to contact a lawyer after a car accident?

If the accident resulted in serious injuries or death, it's recommended that you consult with a personal injury lawyer. A lawyer can help you navigate the legal process and ensure that you receive fair compensation for your injuries. It's also important to contact a lawyer before speaking with any insurance company representatives.

What damages can I recover after a car accident?

If you are involved in a car accident, you may be entitled to recover damages such as medical expenses, lost wages, property damage, and pain and suffering. If the other driver was under the influence of drugs or alcohol, you may also be entitled to punitive damages, which are intended to punish the other driver for their reckless behavior.

Do I need to carry car insurance in California?

Yes, California law requires all drivers to carry liability insurance with minimum coverage of $15,000 per person and $30,000 per accident for bodily injury and $5,000 for property damage. Failure to carry insurance may result in fines and suspension of your driver's license.

What is the statute of limitations for filing a car accident claim in California?

In California, the statute of limitations for filing a car accident claim is two years from the date of the accident. It's important to file your claim within this timeframe, as any claims filed after the statute of limitations has expired may be dismissed.

Can I file a claim if the other driver is uninsured?

If the other driver is uninsured, you may still be able to recover damages through your own uninsured motorist coverage. However, it's important to note that uninsured motorist coverage may not cover all damages, and you may need to file a lawsuit against the other driver to recover additional damages.

In conclusion, if you are involved in a car accident in California, it's important to take the appropriate steps to protect your legal rights. This includes reporting the accident to the DMV, exchanging information with the other driver, contacting a lawyer if necessary, and filing your claim within the statute of limitations. By following these guidelines, you can ensure that you receive fair compensation for your injuries and damages.

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