Heavy rainstorms in Southern California have spiked a severe increase in freeway car accidents over the weekend. The storm, which forecasters said was the strongest in several years, set rainfall records on Sunday and caused widespread flooding after several hours of sustained, pouring rain. The influx of rain caused hundreds of car accidents, clogging up several Los Angeles and Orange County freeways even more than usual.
According to California Highway Patrol, several cars have “spun out of control” or hydroplaned due to flash floods. With the increase in freeway collisions, many Los Angeles and Orange County residents could use a refresher in what to do in the event of an accident. If you are involved in an automobile accident, follow these eight steps to ensure you can be made whole again, physically and financially.
- PULL OVER TO THE SHOULDER
The law requires that the driver of a car involved in an accident must stop if anybody is hurt or there is damage to any car. To prevent further accidents, move all vehicles involved out of the flow of traffic.
- CALL THE POLICE
Always call the local police department or Highway Patrol to request a traffic collision report. If you feel pain of any degree, you should mention that you are injured. Always let the police know if you think the other driver may be intoxicated.
- IDENTIFY THE OTHER DRIVER
Get the name, address, phone number, license plate number of the car he is driving, and have him show you his drivers license, registration, and insurance card. Make sure to take a photo of each document for later reference.
- GATHER WITNESSES
Look around for witnesses. Get the name, address, and telephone number of anyone who might have any information. Ask witnesses if they are willing to record a statement of what they saw.
- INJURED? GOT MEDPAY?
Ask your car insurance provider about MedPay. MedPay covers all medical costs of each passenger in a car accident regardless of who is at fault. It will even cover your health insurance deductible and save you from paying out of pocket.
It’s important to keep in mind that you don’t have to be bleeding to be seriously injured. Even for minor aches and pains, you should have someone drive you to the emergency room of the nearest hospital. Make sure to follow up with your regular doctor and request a prescription for physical therapy or chiropractic care instead of pain killers.
- KEEP COMMENTS TO YOURSELF
It may be tempting to try and explain what happened. It is in your best interest not to comment on the accident to anyone but your attorney. Cooperate with police but remember you do not have to specify the cause of the accident.
- USE YOUR PHONE TO COLLECT EVIDENCE
Your phone is your best friend in the event of a car accident. Technology allows you to build a virtual timeline of evidence.
Use your phone’s camera to take photos or video of the following:
- The other driver’s license, registration, and insurance card
- Occupants of all vehicles involved
- Exterior of all vehicles on all four sides (make sure license and VIN number are clearly visible)
- The scene of the accident
- Any visible injuries or pain
- Any witnesses to the accident
Utilize GPS technology if available on your phone. By turning on the GPS feature on your smart phone, you can geotag photos to include time stamp and location.
- SEE YOUR ATTORNEY
Call Jorgensen and Salberg as soon as possible to discuss the accident. We will advise you on what to do next.
Let us protect your rights.