No matter how hard people try, one way or another, every driver in his life at least once, but gets into an accident. In such a case, a person may not be able to stay calm, and his actions may be reckless.
In order to behave properly after a car accident in California and not to harm yourself with your own actions – carefully study the following recommendations.
Well, you were in an accident – what to do?
First, pull yourself together and don’t panic. Stop your car and turn on your emergency lights. If possible, park your car so it doesn’t interfere with traffic.
Examine yourself and your passengers for injuries, and check other parties involved in the accident as well. If you find injuries, call emergency services immediately by dialing 911.
In California, police officers do not always come to the scene of an accident. In some cases, you just need to tell the police that you have been in an accident.
If you have a terrible accident, however, wait for the police officers and tell them your story of the collision. Do not interfere with the officer’s investigation and be extremely polite to everyone.
Watch what you say. Your words can be used against you.
Exchange contact information with the other driver, and gather all the information you can about the accident. Contact information may include the driver’s name, phone number, residential address, and email. Other necessary information may include: contact information for passengers and witnesses; model, make, and license plate numbers of the vehicles involved; weather conditions, time of day, and road conditions; and information about the other driver’s insurance company. Try to memorize or sketch the location of the cars in detail or, at best, take pictures of the entire accident scene.
Make sure the officer writes up a police report and be sure to put the names of all your passengers on the report.
Do not post information about the accident on social media until your case is finally closed. You could hurt yourself with such actions.
Notify your insurance company that you were involved in a car accident.
Not all injuries show up right away. Therefore, you need to seek medical attention within 14 days to accurately record all of your injuries. Keep in mind, you should see a doctor even if you feel fine.
Under California law, you must report an accident to the Department of Motor Vehicles if it results in more than $750 worth of injuries or damage to vehicles. The notice must be filed within 10 days of the accident. Otherwise, you could face suspension of your driver’s license.
Got into an accident while being an emigrant
The question of what to do as an emigrant after an accident is always a hot topic.
To begin with, it will be necessary to know what separation for newcomers exists in the United States. All foreign nationals in America are divided into two categories – residents and non-residents.
If you are a U.S. resident, you will need to obtain a U.S. driver’s license within 30 days. Otherwise, you may drive with your country’s license (or international driver’s license) until the end of the calendar year.
Remember that drivers who drive with an American driver’s license are subject to the same laws that apply to all citizens. However, if your license is issued in another state, the first thing recommended to do in such a case is to consult an experienced lawyer, as every situation is different. Also, seek legal assistance if you are involved in a traffic accident in California with a driver’s license from another country.
One of the drivers was not insured. What to do?
First of all, you should always remember that the benefit of auto insurance for you is to avoid large financial expenses after an accident. Therefore, insurance is mandatory in many states. In the state of California, every driver is also required to have auto insurance, or pay a significant cash deposit to the Department of Motor Vehicles. That being said, in the event of an accident, a police officer may ask you for proof of auto insurance or other financial responsibility. If you are unable to provide such proof because you were involved in an accident without insurance, you are automatically considered a delinquent driver and subject to penalties.
Also, following California’s Proposition 213, passed in the 1996 election, the amount of compensation you can receive from the insured at the accident will be limited. This is because California law prohibits you from filing a claim for non-economic damages from the at-fault driver if you were involved in an accident and did not have insurance. Speaking of economic damages, state law requires that a driver who is not on insurance, or who has no insurance at all, deduct $10,000 before filing a claim for damages.
If you are involved in an accident without insurance, regardless of who was at fault in the accident, your driver’s license can be suspended for up to four years. That said, you can have your driver’s license reinstated in as little as a year if you:
- Get a valid insurance policy;
- Provide proof of a new insurance policy to the Department of Motor Vehicles;
- Pay the renewal fee.
Also, for several years after a motor vehicle accident, you will be required to carry an SR-22 insurance policy, which comes as a supplement to your primary policy and serves as proof to the state that you are a sufficiently insured driver.
The penalties for not having an insurance policy can be severe fines and temporary confiscation of your car. You can get your car back after you get and/or prove auto insurance and pay for the towing and storage of your vehicle.
Be that as it may, driving without auto insurance can put you at considerable risk. Therefore, you should contact an experienced lawyer to help you sort out all the circumstances of your situation.
Got into an accident while intoxicated. What to expect?
Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is a direct violation of the law. An accident in such a case can result in significant damages, as well as serious penalties (from fines to jail time).
Following Proposition 213, approved by the State of California on November 5, 1996, if you are involved in a drunk driving accident, you have no right to sue for non-economic damages from the other driver.
Also, you should remember that the first thing to do in an accident is to pull over. An accident in which you were involved while intoxicated and you soon fled the scene will face even greater penalties. This is because cumulative violations of the California Vehicle Code are taken more seriously by judges.
A drunk driving accident and subsequent fleeing the scene of an accident can cost you penalties such as:
- A fine of $1,000 to $10,000;
- 2 to 4 years in prison if the accident resulted in serious injury or someone’s death;
- Up to 1 year in jail if the accident resulted in minor injuries;
- A fine of up to $1,000 or up to 6 months in county jail if the accident caused only property damage.
Either way, if you were involved in an accident without insurance coverage or while intoxicated, you will be charged with violating state laws and face serious fines or other penalties. In order to protect your rights and suffer the least amount of damages, you should seek legal advice as soon as you are involved in a car accident in California.
Compensation after a car accident in California
In all accident situations, the first question is most often how to obtain monetary compensation for damages and injuries, as well as the timing and amount of payments. Below is an overview of all of this.
So, what are the car accident benefits in California?
Car accident benefits in California, like in many other states, are directly related to the extent of your injuries and damages.
Car accident benefits must cover losses in all areas of life affected by the accident. For example, if you are injured in a car accident that requires some modifications to your home (if you are disabled), the losses for those modifications must be covered. Of course, one hundred percent damage coverage is only possible if you were not at all at fault in the accident.
It’s worth understanding that damages payable are divided into economic and non-economic damages.
Economic damages are damages that can be easily calculated. For example, paying for repairs to your car, paying for medical treatment if you were involved in an accident with injuries, and compensation for lost wages.
Non-economic damages are damages that cannot be calculated in a short period of time. This includes, for example, moral damages in a car accident.
Thus, personal injury compensation in a car accident includes two categories of damages at once in the form of moral damage payments in a car accident and physical damage payments if you are involved in a car accident with injuries.
In order to know all the types of compensation you may be entitled to after a car accident in California – seek legal assistance. An experienced attorney, such as Rafael Nunez will tell you what benefits you are entitled to claim.
How do I get paid after a car accident?
Every driver has two options for receiving compensation. Either he or she needs to tell his or her insurance company about the accident and receive payment through it, or the injured person can file a claim against the other driver. The choice of how you get accident compensation basically depends on the conditions of the collision that occurred. It depends on whether you or the other driver has an insurance policy and how much payout the insurance company offers you.
That being said, you need to document all of your injuries immediately after the accident, as this will affect the amount of payout.
In order to get the maximum amount of compensation, you should contact a lawyer who can find the best option for you.
Amount of benefits
The amount of compensation in a car accident in California may be limited to the other driver’s maximum insurance coverage. This means that if your damages are $400,000 and the other driver’s policy can only cover $40,000, you will only be paid $40,000. In that case, you can seek compensation not from the insurance company, but directly from the other driver by filing a claim against him.
California also has a comparative fault rule. However, while other states will not pay compensation to an injured driver in an accident if his or her fault exceeds 51%, in the state of California, you can get cash payments even if he or she is 99% at fault. In that case, you get a percentage of compensation equal to the other driver’s percentage of fault, and you pay the amount corresponding to your percentage of fault.
Timing of payments in California
The time frame for compensation in California depends on how quickly you tell your insurance company about the accident or file a claim against the other driver. On average, you can receive compensation within 3-6 months, but in some cases it can take several years.
That said, keep in mind that California has a statute of limitations of 3 years. If you decide to file a claim for compensation after the statute of limitations has expired, you are likely to be denied. And it doesn’t matter if you were in a car accident or a truck accident. However, if you do get into a truck accident, it’s best to contact a Truck Accident Lawyer.
In order to have time to file a claim and understand what compensation you are entitled to, seek legal advice as soon as you are involved in a car accident in California.