I was recently asked a question “how to prepare for a car accident?” There are simple things that we can do to protect ourselves in the event of car accident. We should review our insurance coverage. California Insurance Code §11580.1b sets the minimum coverage at $15,000 for injury/death to one person, $30,000 for injury/death to more than one person and $5,000 for damage to property (15/30/5).
Obviously it is a very low requirement. I suggest getting at minimum (100/300/50) coverage meaning – $100,000 bodily injury liability insurance per person, $300,000 total bodily injury liability insurance per accident, and $50,000 property damage liability per accident. You should also get uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage. Uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage will be used to cover your medical expenses, lost wages, etc. in case the other driver is uninsured or has minimum coverage limits.
Because most car accidents happen close to home, it is a good idea to ask around for a good body shop. You can get a body shop’s business card and keep it in your car in case of accident. Find also good hospitals in your area. If you need to go to emergency room you can go to that hospital.
If you are involved in an accident you should call police. Depending on the local police policy, they will investigate the accident and write up a report. The report will be an important part of your insurance claim. Witnesses disappear quickly, so if anyone saw the accident you should get their information asap. Beware of predatory towing. Tow truck operators have police radio scanners and in many events will be at the accident scene faster that the police.
Do not let them tow your car. If possible, contact you insurance company and ask them to dispatch the tow truck. You can also call the body shop of your choice and ask for a tow truck. If the “predatory tow truck” takes your car, they will hold it for storage fees and do a substandard repair job which will take forever. If the “predatory tow company” took your car without your permission or they lied to you, report it stolen. Tell police what happen and that they stole your car.
In the DMV report that you have to file after an accident indicate bodily injuries even if you are not sure if they are serious. So if you feel pain in a lower back, write down “lower back pain.” If it turns out that you have a serious injury, the insurance company will provide your DMV form and indicate that you did not have any injury if it is not indicated on DMV form. You have to file the DMV SR-1 form if there was property damage of more than $750 or anyone was injured (no matter how minor) or anyone was killed.
Lastly, always wear your seat belt, check tire pressure, lights, etc. Do not keep bottles and other junk in your car. In the event of an accident a bottle may hit you or your passengers and cause a serious injury. Drive defensively and ignore impolite drivers. If involved in an accident you should contact Michalak Law Firm at 888.SHARK.40 or 323-828-0258. I will evaluate your case for free. I will arrange for the best medical care, and compensation for your injuries and lost wages. I do not charge a fee unless I win your case.