What Details Should Be Exchanged Between Drivers After a Car Accident?

In the aftermath of a car accident, many people are stunned and unsure of what to do next. Even if you aren’t injured, you’re likely worried about property damage, insurance claims, and whether the other driver will be cooperative. If you are injured, it adds an extra layer of stress.

Taking the proper steps after a collision can significantly affect the outcome of any subsequent insurance claims or legal proceedings. One of the most important things to do at the car accident scene is to exchange information with other parties involved in the crash.

Information To Exchange At the Scene of a Car Accident

In California, all drivers involved in a collision must stop their vehicle at the accident scene and exchange information with the other driver. This obligation applies whether it only involves property damage or an injury or fatality. Otherwise, you could be cited for a hit-and-run accident and face jail time.

Drivers should exchange the following information after a crash:

  • Names
  • The current address of the drivers
  • The current address of any occupants
  • The vehicles’ registration numbers
  • Driver’s license numbers
  • Auto insurance information (or evidence of financial responsibility)

In this situation, it’s better to have too much information than not enough. This will make the claims process much easier in the long run.

What Else Should I Do Immediately After a Car Accident in Bakersfield, CA?

In addition to exchanging information with the other driver, if you’re able to do so, you should take these steps at the accident scene:

  • Take note of the date, time, and location of the collision
  • Move your vehicle out of the way if no one is injured or killed (and if you’re able to do so)
  • Immediately call 911 if there are any injuries or fatalities, and ask the responding police officers for their names and badge numbers
  • Take photos and videos of the accident scene, including the location, position of the vehicles, property damage, skid marks, injuries, etc.
  • Gather information from eyewitnesses

You should also note your recollection of events immediately after the crash. Otherwise, you may forget important details that could help your insurance claim or personal injury case.

You’re not always required by law to call 911 at a car accident scene. However, if you do and the police are dispatched, they will complete an accident report, which is vital evidence that could help you prove causation and liability. Therefore, it’s typically recommended to call the police.

What Should I Do If the Other Driver Refuses To Exchange Information?

California law requires drivers to exchange information after an accident. Failure to do so can result in criminal charges.

If a driver refuses to exchange information after a collision, immediately contact law enforcement. Be sure to jot down their license plate number in case they flee the scene before the authorities arrive.

Reasons a driver may refuse to exchange information include:

  • They don’t have car insurance as required by California law
  • They’re driving on a suspended license
  • They don’t have a valid driver’s license
  • They’re afraid of their insurance premium increasing
  • They have several prior traffic violations

Whatever the reason, if you’re in a situation where a driver refuses to give you their information after a car crash, call 911 for assistance.

Contact a Bakersfield Car Accident Lawyer for Help After a Collision

If you’ve been injured or need assistance after a car accident in Bakersfield, CA, reach out to a personal injury lawyer. You may not require legal representation, but the only sure way to find out is by discussing your collision with an experienced Bakersfield car accident attorney.

An attorney will help you prove the elements of your car accident claim and seek compensation for the full extent of your losses. They’ll also ensure that you fulfill your legal obligations, including reporting the accident to the DMV. Learn more today by scheduling a free consultation.

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