What you Should do After an Accident
April 7, 2010 -
David L. Milligan
Right after an accident, your first priority is safety: yours and others’. You should call 9-1-1 for emergency services. The Police and Ambulance will arrive to help the injured and conduct the investigation. The Police will conduct an investigation while you receive the needed medical attention, and go to the Hospital for further care.
If there are no police or emergency personnel, and if it’s safe to do so, then you may conduct your own investigation. From a safe location out of the street take as many pictures as you can (either on a regular camera, or use your cell phone’s camera). If you have a video camera, take video. Get the names and phone numbers of all the people who were involved in the accident, and who witnessed the accident. But it’s important to remember that you should not place yourself or others in harm’s way in conducting your own investigation. Stay safe at all times: money and property can be replaced; people can not.
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Each driver involved in an accident that caused more than $750 ($500 for accidents prior to January 1, 2003) worth of property damage or injured or killed any person must complete a Traffic Accident Report form SR1 to DMV within 10 days. You may obtain information about the other driver from the accident report that he or she submitted.
To request this information, complete Financial Responsibility Document Request form SR 19C and mail it to:
Department of Motor Vehicles
Financial Responsibility Unit
P.O. Box 942884
Sacramento, California 94284-0884.
Also available are the other driver’s insurance information and a photocopy of the accident report and/or certification that the other driver in the accident was not insured (Uninsured Motorist Certificate). A $20 fee is required for each type of information requested.
Link to the California Driver Handbook
Link to the California Motorcycle Handbook