If you’ve been involved in a car accident in Los Angeles, CA, you’re probably shaken up and unsure what to do next. For example, do you have to call the police for what looks like just a minor fender bender? Or should you just exchange information with the other driver?
There are a few misconceptions about car accidents in California, but knowing what you’re legally obligated to do can save you a world of headaches and legal trouble.
You Must Notify the Los Angeles Police of a Car Accident in Almost All Circumstances
Per the Los Angeles Police Department, you must notify the police about almost all car accidents.
For example, the law requires you to notify police if you’ve been involved in a car wreck and one of the following occurred:
- A driver is intoxicated
- Someone has been hurt or killed in the accident
- A driver in the collision doesn’t have a valid driver’s license
- A driver left the scene of the accident
Many of the situations involve someone who didn’t follow the law. Even if both drivers are sober and fully licensed and no one has been injured, it’s always best to call the police. Should the other driver file a claim against you, it’s in your best interests to file a police report and have the facts on record.
Call the Police After Any Los Angeles Car Accidents
While you are not obligated to call the police in every car accident situation, it’s always a good idea, even if you think the damage is minimal and the other party offers to pay for the repairs to your car.
When you call the police after an accident, professional law enforcement officers will analyze the scene, speak with witnesses, and take statements from all parties involved in the accident. Once they’re finished, they’ll file an official police report. This report generally provides proof of how the accident happened and who is responsible.
If the other driver attempts to file a claim against you or if they tell their insurance company that you were at fault, the insurance company might try to deny your claim. Having the police report is a good defense against this. Hiring a car accident attorney is another good way to protect your interests.
You May Need Medical Attention After a Los Angeles Car Wreck
Many injuries from a car accident may not show up right away. Emergency medical responders are trained in diagnosing soft tissue injuries or injuries to the neck and spine after a wreck. The earlier your injuries are diagnosed, the better your chances of a full recovery.
Common car wreck injuries include:
- Burns, cuts, bruising, or abrasions
- Neck, back, and spine injuries
- Broken bones or fractures
- Concussions or traumatic brain injuries (TBIs)
Waiting to get medical care worsens your condition and can make it harder to pursue a successful claim for damages against the at-fault driver. If you delay medical care, their insurance company may say that you weren’t hurt as severely as you were or that your injuries didn’t happen because of the car accident. Alternatively, they could claim that you failed to mitigate your damages.
Are Fender Benders Really a Cause for Concern?
A fender bender may look minor, but the consequences can be serious. Days and even weeks after the accident, injuries can present themselves and worsen without treatment. Additionally, the damage to your vehicle could be worse than it appears.
You generally only have two years to file a personal injury claim in California, so it’s important to seek treatment for your injuries as soon as possible.
A reliable car accident attorney can help you with your insurance claim, including dealing with the documentation and negotiations with the insurance company. They will also monitor the statute of limitations that applies to your claim in case you need to file a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault driver.
Contact Our Car Accident Law Firm in Los Angeles, CA
If you were injured in an accident in Los Angeles, CA or you lost a loved one and you need legal assistance, please contact us to schedule a free consultation. One of our Los Angeles car accident lawyers at M&Y Personal Injury Lawyers will get in touch with you soon.