Accidents happen. We all hope to avoid them, but what should you do if while driving in Los Angeles you are stopped for a red light and rear ended or while going through a green light hit by someone who ran the red and broadsided you, often called a T-Bone collision?
If you are the victim of an accident in L.A. (which includes Hollywood and the San Fernando Valley with North Hollywood, Studio City, Van Nuys, Sherman Oaks, Encino, Reseda, Tarzana, Canoga Park and Woodland Hills) here are some things you should do:
• If the collision is not your fault, you should call 911 to report it to the LAPD to obtain a police report called a Traffic Collision Report. Even with the wait for the police to arrive, this time will be more than saved later by having the police document what occurred, the parties involved, who is at fault and why.
• If you are injured, do not be shy or macho when asked. Do not deny it or make light of it. It is important to document all injuries. Further, we understand that often the LAPD is busy and may not come to investigate and prepare a report of an auto accident unless there are injuries. Thus, when asked, be sure to identify each injury you have.
• Be sure to get the full name, current address and telephone numbers of all persons involved. Ask to see their drivers’ licenses and proof of automobile insurance, write down all of the information on the license and insurance card, and ask if there are any new addresses.
• Write down the full license plate number on each involved vehicle.
• If any vehicles have company names on them, write this down too.
• If there are any witnesses, get their full name and all contact information. One never knows when this information will be necessary, especially with so many insurance companies refusing to admit liability or delaying payment of claims.
• Call your attorney for advice. If you do not have an attorney, feel free to contact our firm for a free consultation, including what to do and not do to protect your rights.
• After you speak to your attorney, then you or your attorney should report the accident to your insurance company. It is important to know what to say as well as what not to say.
• Get the medical attention you need, identify all injuries no matter how small and you should speak to your attorney about this too. Our firm can help injured persons obtain immediate medical care without any initial payment. If you need medical care due to an accident caused by another, do not hesitate to call us.
While the LAPD investigates collisions within Los Angeles, you should know it often takes one to two months to provide copies of its Traffic Collision Reports. This delay presents many problems for victims of accidents. Thus, it is important for you to get The Traffic Collision Information Card with certain basic information from the investigating police officer before you leave the scene of the collision. If you do not get it or other necessary information at the scene, you should contact the local police department to obtain preliminary information while waiting for the complete Traffic Collision Report.
For more information if you or someone you care about is involved in a motor vehicle collision in Los Angeles or anywhere else in California, contact our firm for a free consultation.