California Vehicle Code Section 20001 requires the driver of a vehicle involved in a collision to immediately stop if the accident causes injury or death. Vehicle Code Section 20002 mandates a driver to stop at the nearest safe location after an accident where there is property damage but no injuries. Drivers must stop so they can render aid to those who are injured and so they can exchange information.
California is a fault state for car accidents, so the driver who causes a crash should pay for damages. The exchange of information at an accident scene is necessary to allow victims to pursue a claim for compensation from those responsible. Everyone needs to understand the key pieces of information they should obtain from the other party after a car accident, so they can protect their rights.
Information to Obtain from the Other Party After a Car Accident
The State Bar of California warns motorists involved in crashes that confidentiality rules for state records make it difficult, or impossible, to get information from the Department of Motor Vehicles after a crash. That is why it is imperative to obtain necessary information at the car accident scene. This includes:
- The name, address, birth date, telephone number, license number, license expiration date, and insurance company information for all other drivers in the collision
- The license plate number and vehicle information from all vehicles involved, including the car’s make and model and the VIN number
- Contact and insurance information, including names, addresses, and telephone numbers, for all legal and/or registered owners of the vehicles involved if the cars were driven by someone other than the owner
- Information from accident witnesses, including names, contact phone numbers, and addresses. If possible, ask the witnesses to stay until they have spoken with a responding to law enforcement officer. If they will not stay, ask them to tell you what they observed and write down their statements.
- Details to identify witnesses. If witnesses don’t stop or stay at the scene, write down their license plate numbers
You should take photographs of the crash scene and draw a simple diagram depicting what occurred. Calling the police and getting an official accident report is also advisable to protect your rights.
What if the Other Party Will Not Provide Contact Details?
If another driver refuses to stop after involvement in a motor vehicle accident, try to obtain as much information as possible including the license plate number and the make and model of the vehicle.
Leaving the scene of the accident is a hit-and-run crime. The police will investigate to find the other driver who has fled the scene, especially if serious injury or death occurred. Once the police have found the other driver, you can pursue a claim for compensation if the other motorist was to blame for the accident.
If the other driver stops but will not provide contact information, wait until the police arrive and ask the law enforcement officer to help you get the information you need.
In the chaos that often follows an accident you can sometimes forget to get important information from the other driver or witnesses. So you will always know what to do at the scene of a car accident, download this form and put it in your glovebox.
Contact a Long Beach Accident Lawyer After Your Crash
Your Injuries Are Personal to Me
After your collision, a Long Beach accident lawyer can help you to deal with the other party and his or her insurance company so you can pursue a claim for monetary damages.
Call the Law Office of Michael D. Waks at 888-394-1174 or use the convenient online contact form to schedule a free consultation. You are under no obligation and you will never pay any money unless you recover damages for your injuries. I offer bilingual services as part of my comprehensive approach to legal representation and I am available 24/7 to talk to you about your case.
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