A typical car crash in California is confusing, chaotic and overwhelming. Feeling disoriented and panicked is natural, but you should never let it cloud your judgment. There are some mistakes you can make (often unknowingly) that could significantly cost you when it comes to insurance claims, legal proceedings and personal safety.
Not calling the police
In California, the law mandates that you call the police within 24 hours after an accident that caused injury or death. But it doesn’t matter if you think the crash was minor and there were no injuries; always call the police. They will help you file a report that’s essential for insurance claims or any potential legal action.
Not gathering enough evidence
It’s easy to get caught up in the chaos of the moment and forget to take photos or collect information from witnesses. California is an at-fault state for car accidents, which means the person responsible for the accident pays the damages. You don’t want the court to hold you responsible for something that wasn’t your fault because you don’t have the material to prove your innocence.
It’s natural to want to apologize or accept blame after a car crash, even if it wasn’t your fault. Even if you mean well, telling the other driver sorry or mentioning something you would have done to prevent the accident could backfire on you. The same applies when you call the police or your insurance company; stick to the facts and avoid admitting fault.
Not seeking medical attention
Injuries like whiplash, concussion, spine and back injuries aren’t always immediately apparent. Many people do not seek medical attention after a car crash because they feel fine or think their injuries are minor. However, these types of injuries can worsen over time, resulting in high medical bills or permanent damage if left untreated.
While navigating the aftermath of a car crash in California, it’s essential to always remember that every action you take has potential consequences that could shape your future. It helps to understand your rights and what the law requires you to do during such situations.