People across the country and all over the world come to see California’s beautiful and scenic sights. Whether traveling to ski in Northern California’s Sierra snow (perhaps in Mammoth Mountain), take a trip through beautiful Southern California down the Pacific Coast Highway, or come for business, millions of people visit the Golden State each year.
Yes, most visitors get to enjoy their trips to California. Unfortunately, an unexpected and injury-inducing car accident can quickly deflate a happy romantic honeymoon in Santa Barbara, put a damper on a full plate of business meetings in L.A. or San Francisco, or ruin a family reunion in Big Bear.
What to do if you’ve been in an accident during your California vacation?
An out-of-state accident can feel overwhelming as you are out of your element in many ways; however, the basic actions you should take still apply. You should always call the police and report the accident. Make sure to call 911 if anyone involved in the crash is seriously injured.
Next, take photos of the other car as well as any damage to your vehicle (or rental car). If you’re able to collect the contact information of all parties involved in the accident; however, if you are not able to, this is the officer’s job on the scene, including obtaining everyone’s insurance information for the police report. Next, (if able) look for any eyewitnesses and get their contact information and take down notes of any details they recollect.
Next, notify your insurance company, but try not to worry about this too much. They will have the information from the police report, but a heads up can’t hurt, especially if you’re out of state or using a rental car and have additional insurance.
Should you get checked out by a medical professional or contact a law firm?
You should always go to the hospital or an urgent care following an accident to be checked out by a medical professional, even if you feel fine momentarily after the accident. Adrenaline can mask something like whiplash or a back injury and other hormones released from the stress and impact of the unexpected collision. It’s best not to wait and see in these cases and are on the side of caution.
Lastly, but particularly if you have suffered any injury (specifically a more serious one), it’s critical to contact an experienced and reputable car accident attorney licensed in California. They can effectively manage your case (especially if you are not physically able), collect and highlight any evidence, interview potential witnesses, and review details with the insurance companies. As you aren’t local in this situation, it’s essential to have someone protecting your rights on your behalf who is.
Whether you are staying for an extended visit in California, unfortunately, stuck in the hospital, or have to travel back home, an attorney can also alleviate some of the stress associated with dealing with an out-of-state accident.
Note: California has a statute of limitations on accidents, and that clock starts ticking from the day the accident occurred — so do not hesitate to act.