California is a big, beautiful state. It’s world famous for its beaches, its movies, its nightlife, and so much more. But it’s also famous for some bad things — including its notoriously busy and dangerous roads.
For all the joys of living in California, you’ll find risks, too. Given the prominent place that cars occupy in Californian culture, it’s only sensible that Californians familiarize themselves with some basic facts about car accidents. Here’s what you need to know.
A real threat in California
Contrary to popular belief, California’s roads aren’t quite the most dangerous in the nation. As stressful as they can be, our roads are still a bit safer than some of the most treacherous ones strewn across the United States. But don’t let that lull you into a false sense of security. California’s roads are still extremely dangerous, and thousands of car accidents occur in California each year. Tragically, 3,651 people lost their lives in motor vehicle accidents in California in 2018.
The good news is that you can do things to reduce your risk of getting into a car in California. You should practice defensive driving, follow all road laws and posted signs, and, of course, say no to drunken driving, distracted driving, and other dangerous choices.
Still, you can only do so much. The risk will always be there — so make sure that you know what to do if you’re involved in an accident.
What to do after a California car accident
If you are involved in an accident, the first thing to worry about is your safety, followed by the safety of others. If you or anyone else is injured, call 911 right away and get help. Consider your position, too: Is it safer and smarter to get out of the car, or stay inside? If the car is driveable, should you move it to the side of the road? Use your common sense to avoid the dangers that could come with staying in a damaged vehicle or risking passing traffic.
If your accident injured anyone or caused more than $1,000 in damages (and it probably did, because that’s not a high bar), then California law requires that you call the police. Even if you’re not required to do so by law, you may want to call the police to get everything on a police report.
Seeking justice after an injury
That police report, along with other key pieces of documentation, could become important later on. That’s because California law offers some powerful options to people who are injured because of another party’s negligence.
If you’re hurt in a car accident, you could face serious consequences. In addition to terrible pain and suffering, you may end up drowning in medical bills. You could miss work and lose wages, or even your job, because the injury has kept you from doing your job. You could be permanently disabled, disfigured, or traumatized.
Under California law, explain the experts at Daniel Kim Law, you could seek compensation for these damages. If you and an attorney can show that your damages were the result of injuries sustained in an accident caused by someone else’s negligence, then your bills could end up being paid off by the right person: the one who caused the accident.
If you’re in this situation, you should act fast. Make an appointment for an initial consultation with an attorney who specializes in California personal injury law, and show up with all the documentation that you have related to your accident. From there, the attorney will explain your options.