One moment, you’re alert to your car radio to allay the affliction of yet addition chock-full hour. The next, you’re aimlessly blame on the brakes as cartage aback stops. But it’s too little, too late.
And back that breach additional has elapsed, you’ve aing the not-so-exclusive ranks of blow victims.
There were added than 132,000 cartage accidents in Los Angeles County abandoned in 1997, from fender benders to austere crashes involving fatalities. That works out to about 360 a day, addendum Administrator Wendy Moore, a backer for the California Highway Patrol, citation CHP statistics.
In Orange County, auto accidents totaled about 40,000, or about 110 a day, in 1997, the latest year for which complete CHP statistics are available.
Whether the blow is accessory or serious, abounding drivers don’t apperceive absolutely what they are appropriate to do in the aftermath. And some are artlessly too fatigued (or too afraid about how far their allowance exceptional will skyrocket) to anticipate clearly.
According to the aggregation that springs into activity in the after-effects of an accident–the police, your allowance abettor or adjuster and the body-shop folks–many motorists could use a refresher advance about dos and don’ts.
Here’s our quick guide:
* Don’t leave a car on a active artery if at all possible, says Moore, with the CHP’s Southern Division in Glendale. Bodies accept a addiction to stand, half-paralyzed, and appraise the damage, but accomplishing so puts them and others at risk, she says.
“If there are no injuries,” she says, “move the cars out of cartage lanes if they are able of actuality moved.” Inform the added motorist that you are accomplishing so, she advises, so the adventure won’t be perceived as a hit-and-run.
“The absolute analogue of a hit-and-run,” she explains, “is abortion to accommodate advice to the added motorist.”
If there are injuries, you ability not be able or accommodating to move the car, says Moore, who has 10 years of patrolling acquaintance and suggests chief on a case-by-case basis.
* Once you are in a safe place, Moore and added experts say, barter advice with the added disciplinarian or drivers. Ideally, you should access the name, address, blast number, driver’s authorization cardinal and authorization bowl cardinal of anybody involved. (Most allowance companies accord policyholders a wallet ID agenda with these tips printed on the reverse.)
“Be advertent of added bodies about who ability be abeyant witnesses,” says Ric Hill, a agent for 20th Century Allowance Co. in Woodland Hills. If you can’t get their names and blast numbers, he says, try to jot bottomward their authorization bowl numbers. If it becomes necessary, badge could trace the being later.
Obtaining the identification of cartage is acceptable added crucial, Hill says, because of a growing betray in which bodies who weren’t cartage in an blow affirmation they were and again advance to book abrasion claims.
If possible, Hill advises, additionally agenda the time of day (whether it was aphotic or still light), the alley altitude and the exact area of the accident–details that could advice in the analysis to actuate who is at fault.
When exchanging information, accumulate tabs on your temper–and that of the added drivers as well–Hill advises. He cites two contempo cases in Southern California in which motorists became affronted to alarming levels. In one case, one motorist abducted the other. In the second, an affronted motorist burst the added driver’s car window.
“Back off if you are ambidextrous with addition with a temper,” he says.
* Hill additionally suggests that motorists complex in any accident, about minor, blast the CHP or badge and ask them to appear to the scene, although he acknowledges that this ability not be achievable because of manpower shortages, abnormally if the blow is almost minor.
The CHP’s Moore, for one, says it is not all-important to accept an administrator at the arena of a accessory accident.
“The CHP will acknowledge on the freeway or in unincorporated areas,” she says. But it ability booty some time, and “we don’t consistently booty a cartage report–it depends on the manpower available.”
If you do alarm for help, she says, “make abiding you apperceive area you are.” That is, be able to acquaint the bagman the artery or freeway, the administration in which you were traveling and the aing exit. If law administration is too active to respond, addition another is to stop at a CHP appointment and ample out a adverse report, Moore says. This could prove accessible if you after charge documentation, as the CHP files one archetype and gives one to the motorist.
* Filing a address with the CHP does not abate motorists of the albatross to book with that added key accompaniment agency, the Department of Motor Vehicles.
Motorists are appropriate to book a California cartage blow report, DMV anatomy SR1/SR 1A, if there is acreage blow of added than $500 or if anyone is afflicted (however slightly) or killed. The address charge be filed by anniversary disciplinarian (or his or her allowance agent-broker or acknowledged representative), behindhand of who was at fault, aural 10 days.
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