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What to do when a car accident happens in California

It often seems that all you need in California is a car. Motor vehicles are often the best way to get to work, home, the grocery store or the many beautiful vistas from the Inland Empire to the redwoods near the Oregon border.

Collisions with other cars are rare, especially when drivers are careful on the roads and are not distracted by cellphones and other devices that can pull attention from other drivers. But if an accident happens, it is important to know what to do.

Never leave the scene of an accident. Even if a driver is not at fault, his or her license may be suspended or revoked and criminal charges may result if a driver leaves without acknowledging his or her responsibilities.

If a collision is not serious and has not resulted in injury, the sharing of personal information, car information and insurance policies is requisite. Any accident that has resulted in injury or damage that prevents a vehicle leaving without repairs should result in a call to 911 or law enforcement authorities.

The California Department of Motor Vehicles requires serious accidents to be reported within 10 days, no matter the party at fault. This report can be made in person at one of their regional offices or mailed to their headquarters in Sacramento.

If a person in either vehicle or at the scene of the accident has been injured, the California Department of Motor Vehicles recommended that the person or his or her family contacts an attorney. A lawyer can help recover reimbursement of medical expenses and repairs, as well as possible compensation for pain and emotional distress.

Source: California Department of Motor Vehicles, “What To Do After a Car Accident in California,” accessed Jan. 04, 2018

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