Filing an auto accident claim in California can be more difficult depending on what you did right after the accident. For example, you may have apologized to the other driver even though you were not necessarily at fault; that driver’s insurance company may use that against you. A good rule of thumb is to limit any interactions with the other side after a crash.
Always call the police
Another good rule to follow is to call the police. This holds even for minor accidents because the police can still write up an incident report that will answer a lot of the insurance company’s questions upfront. If anyone is injured, then it’s important to call for an ambulance as well. Some drivers may even need reminding that they actually have to stop and assess the situation after a crash.
Gathering important information
The parties involved in a crash should exchange contact information as well as insurance information. If possible, victims should also take down the other vehicle’s make, model and license plate number. There’s more information to gather. For example, victims should find out the name and number of any eyewitnesses and all the police officers who arrive at the scene.
Photographing the damage and any visible injuries can be a good idea, too. Victims could write out their version of the events, taking note of the direction each car was heading and what the road, weather and visibility conditions were like.
Consider legal assistance
If you left out many of these steps in your own case, it might hurt your chances of seeking compensation without professional help. Victims of motor vehicle crashes may find that they need a lawyer to guide them through the claims process, so you might consider seeing one for a case assessment.