Sonoma County is a peaceful region that is dotted with small towns, vineyards and one major highway that takes people to the Bay Area. However, even in a quiet place, people can find themselves dealing with a car accident. Such an event can be stressful and challenging, especially if the person is injured and needs medical care. However, Californians can prepare themselves beforehand, eliminating unnecessary legal wrangles and stress.
According to the California Office of Traffic Safety, the state has done much to address issues such as drunk driving, texting and driving, wearing seat belts and protecting passengers in vehicles. However, 2,791 people died in collisions that occurred in 2011, showing a slight increase over the 2,720 people that died in accidents the year before. The number of injuries is unknown.
Insurance policy review
Edmunds states that one of the best ways to be prepared for an accident is to have a complete understanding of the terms of the insurance policy. In addition, drivers should consider what their monetary needs and abilities will be to make sure that they have the right amount of coverage.
For example, a driver may only have one vehicle. This means that the person will likely have need of a rental car and if the policy does not provide coverage for one, the person will have to pay for that car out of his or her own pocket. The same is true for towing. Drivers should also consider other coverage such as underinsured drivers, uninsured drivers and their deductible amounts.
Have tools to document the accident
In the event of a truck accident, a collision with another vehicle or a motorcycle crash, drivers should have tools on hand that enable them to collect information about the accident. CNN recommends having a disposable camera on hand to take pictures. Drivers should also have a notepad and pencil for note-taking and an accident form. The form can be created by hand or obtained through an insurance company and captures the following:
· Other drivers’ names and contact information.
· Date and location of the accident.
· Road conditions.
· Make and type of all vehicles involved.
· Events leading up to the crash.
· Witness information.
Drivers should also note the name and badge number of the responding officer, if law enforcement is summoned, as well as the police report number. Recording this kind of information will prevent drivers from becoming confused over the facts and can help them prove an insurance claim.
Be careful of saying the wrong thing
An accident scene can be chaotic and often drivers find themselves in a state of shock, however, if they are conscious they should try to remember that statements can often be taken out of context and misinterpreted. Saying that one is alright could lead to complications with an insurance claim if an injury later surfaces.
If a driver is able to think coherently, he or she should make an immediate call to a qualified attorney who can provide advice on what actions should be taken.