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Feb 16

Monthly Tip - What to Do If You’re Involved in a Car Accident

Posted on February 16, 2017 at 4:49 p.m. by Brea Police Department PIO

Rear End CollisionGetting in a car accident can be stressful, confusing and altogether overwhelming. Although no one wants to get into a car accident, taking the time to prepare beforehand can help the process seem easier and ensure that you will collect the necessary information accurately and completely. First, you must carry with you and present to a police officer, your driver's license, proof of insurance and current vehicle registration when stopped by an officer or involved in a collision. In the state of California it is a crime to not stop if you are involved in a traffic collision. If you fail to stop, you can be charged criminally.

The Department of Motor Vehicles has a page devoted to collision information, including reporting requirements to the State. Visit the DMV webpage.

Another resource may be your insurance company. While renewing your insurance, check with your agency, sometimes they will supply you with a pre-printed check list that you can keep in your glove box.

If you are in a car accident, the first thing to do is to check for injuries to you, your passengers, the other involved driver or their passengers. If someone is injured, immediately call 9-1-1 and report the collision. If there are injuries that require medical attention, leave the vehicles in place until police and fire personnel arrive.

If no one in either car is hurt, remove the vehicles from the roadway. Pull to the side of the road, a parking lot, or side street, whatever you feel is the safest and out of the way of traffic. Next, evaluate the damage. If there is substantial damage or injury, the police should be called to the scene. If the damage is minor and no one is injured, merely exchanging information between the two drivers is acceptable. A police report is NOT always required.

When exchanging information, record the following:
  • Date, time and location of the collision
  • Name, address and phone numbers for all drivers and passengers
  • Driver’s license numbers for involved drivers
  • Insurance company name, policy number and policy holder for all drivers or vehicles
  • Complete vehicle information of involved vehicles to include license number, make, model, color, and description such as pick-up, four-door etc., and name of registered owner if different
  • Description of any damage
  • Photographs of damage, or lack thereof, other parties and scene if safe to do so
  • Note lane position of each vehicle and where the vehicles were prior to and at time of collision
  • Note any unusual conditions such as inoperative lights, vision obstruction
  • Note/photograph any physical evidence like skids or debris resulting from collision

Be safe, slow down, and wear your seat belt!

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