Yes. According to the California Department of Insurance (CDI), you should exchange auto insurance information after a car accident. The CDI also states that you should take these important steps:
- Immediately stop your car
- Move your car out of the flow of traffic if you can do so safely
- Call 9-1-1 if anyone in either vehicle is injured
- Take written note of the license plate and VIN of the other involved vehicle
- Note the contact information of any accident witnesses
- Take photos of your vehicle from a variety of angles
- Take photos of the accident scene and other involved vehicles
In addition to these steps, you should insist on filing a car accident report, which is mandatory if anyone in either vehicle is injured, fatally injured, or has apparent property damage of more than $750. Failing to file a car accident report within 10 days of the accident might result in the suspension of your driving privileges.
Give Your Legal Team a Copy of the Information You Exchanged
Your legal team might be able to use the information you received at the accident scene to contact the at-fault driver and their insurance provider. This information might be used to exchange facts about the accident with the at-fault driver’s legal or insurance representative. Once more information about the accident is clear, the involved parties may start settlement negotiations.
Your legal team may also garner important facts about the collision from your car accident report that might help strengthen and support your case. Your car accident report might tell your lawyer whether:
- The at-fault driver received any tickets or citations
- The at-fault driver was distracted while driving
- Alcohol or drug use contributed to the collision
- The at-fault driver’s vehicle was defective
- Anyone witnessed the car accident
- Photos were taken at the scene
The car accident report might also contain damage and injury details that support your claim for compensation. Accident reports can contain information that all involved parties may use to resolve the case. As soon as your car accident report becomes available, you should give your legal team a copy of it and retain another copy for your personal records.
Keep Adding to Your Car Accident Evidence File
In addition to your car accident report, you may be able to use the following pieces of evidence in your case:
- Statements from other vehicle occupants
- Statements from impartial witnesses
- Pictures of your car accident injuries
- Pictures of both involved vehicles
- Recreational or commercial video footage
- Medical records, reports, and bills
- Proof of loss from all income sources
- Mechanic repair bills for vehicle damage
- Vehicle replacement values and estimates
Building a solid evidence file can help show the at-fault driver and their insurance company who caused the accident. It might also help you establish that the at-fault party should be held liable for the damages you incurred.
Exchanging Information Might Help You Pursue Compensation Later On
If you exchange information with the driver who caused the accident, you may use this information to pursue compensation from them if you discover that the accident led to several forms of damages for you. According to the California Civil Code (CIV) §1431.2, your compensation package might include:
- Past and future medical bills
- Past and future lost income
- Vehicle damage or destruction
- Pain, suffering, and inconvenience
- Mental and emotional agony
- Necessary in-home medical care
- Necessary in-home domestic aid
- Funeral and burial costs, if applicable
Create a file with receipts and other forms and documents that attest to the cost of the accident or its aftereffects. These items may help your lawyer assess the value of your compensation claim or lawsuit. Your legal team might be able to obtain some of these items on your behalf. If you need assistance, let them know as soon as possible.
Our Personal Injury Team Is on Your Side
Not only should you exchange auto insurance information after a car accident with the at-fault driver, but you should also share that information with our legal team. We may be able to use it to begin taking legal steps to pursue compensation on your behalf.
When you are ready to pursue compensation, start by calling our law firm to review your case. We may be able to discuss your accident and explain the litigation process during your initial consultation. Contact the client intake team at Jacoby & Meyers Law Offices by calling (866) 559-7223 today.