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What to do when you've been involved in a car crash

If you're involved in a car accident, there are a few things you need to do, even if you're the one who's been victimized. Taking the right steps following an accident can help you by making it clear how the accident took place and showing that you're a responsible person who knows the laws of the state.

To start with, if there are any injuries, you should always focus on your health and wellness first. Call 911, and help anyone you can. If you're hurt, the other driver should call (unless you're able to call from where you are). If you're not badly hurt and are able to review the scene of the crash, take note of the other vehicle's registration number. Ask for the other driver's ID, so you can get his or her name, address, and birth date at the very least.

If the other driver is injured, this may have to wait. Normally, the police will collect this information. The same is true if you're hospitalized; you can request the police report, so you can get the information you need to make a claim against the other driver.

You should always review the police report for errors or inconsistencies. You can also request information on the other driver's insurance. If the other driver hit you and does not have insurance, it means he or she is in violation of California law. When there is no insurance, you may have to go to court and sue to get the compensation you need, which is when your attorney can be of help. You may also benefit from underinsured or uninsured motorist insurance in that case.

Source: The State Bar of California, "What Should I Do If I Have An Auto Accident," accessed Nov. 24, 2015

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