When people are injured in an auto accident in California, they should follow these steps for dealing with the situation. State law requires certain actions to be taken in any car crash, but when people are injured they should take additional steps for their physical well-being and to put themselves in a good position for collecting compensation from the responsible party.
When people are hurt in an auto accident, the other party is supposed to stop and offer assistance. Someone should call 911 as soon as possible and let the operator know exactly where the accident occurred. Drivers are supposed to show each other their driver's license and registration information. Injured motorists should write down the other person's contact information, the name of their insurance company and their driver's license number. Information about passengers, insurance companies, vehicles involved and witnesses should also be recorded in case victims need this information when filing a claim or suing for compensation.
Accidents must be reported to California Highway Patrol or the local police. It is wise to ask an officer on the scene if he or she can provide a copy of the accident report. If someone is injured in an accident, it must be reported to the DMV within 10 days. Injured motorists and passengers should seek medical assistance. Even if injuries are only suspected, getting a physical checkup is important for one's health and as proof of injury. Victims should file a claim with the responsible party's insurance company as well as let their own company know what happened.
Not every person who causes an auto accident will admit responsibility and cooperate with the correct process. Insurance companies do not always cooperate either, sometimes denying or delaying claims or trying to pay less than a victim needs. An attorney could assist victims by arguing for full and timely compensation after speaking with accident reconstruction specialists and investigators as well as assessing medical records and police reports.
Source: The State Bar of California , "What should I do if I have an auto accident?", October 17, 2014