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In a Car Accident? What Now?

By San Diego Attorney on January 22, 2020

No one wants to be involved in a car crash, but with the odds today, it could happen eventually. Even a minor fender-bender with no injuries will completely ruin your day. A major collision with serious injuries leads to life-altering consequences. The following are some tips on what to do if you are involved in a car accident in California.

Report the Accident to Law Enforcement

If you are involved in a motor vehicle accident resulting in injuries or death, you must provide a written report of the crash to the state highway patrol or the police department, or request one be written by a law enforcement officer, depending on where the accident occurred, under California Vehicle Code Section 20008. When you call the police after a car accident, the law enforcement officer who appears at the scene will prepare a written report.

Seek Medical Attention for Your Injuries

If you have sustained even minor injuries in a car accident, it is essential to get medical attention as soon as possible. Some symptoms may not be apparent immediately after the crash. For example, symptoms of whiplash can develop within 24 hours of the injury. Some people have long-lasting complications and suffer chronic neck pain with whiplash.

Report the Accident to the DMV

You must report the crash to the Department of Motor Vehicles within ten days if:

  • Anyone involved in the accident was injured or killed; or
  • The crash caused property damage of more than $1000.

You can get a copy of the form for reporting the accident from the DMV website.

Report the Accident to Your Car Insurance Company

There is no requirement under state law that you report a car accident to your automobile insurance carrier. However, car insurance contracts require policyholders to report accidents soon after they occur. If you fail to report within a reasonable period, your insurer may deny coverage for the crash. Depending on the circumstances, your insurance company’s definition of a reasonable time may be as little as one or two days.

File a Claim for Compensation

If someone else was at fault for the accident, you are entitled to bring a lawsuit seeking damages. Under California’s pure comparative negligence rules, you may recover compensation from the at-fault party, regardless of any fault on your part for the crash. Your damages are reduced by the percentage of fault assigned to you.

There is a statute of limitations (time limit imposed by law) within which to file, or your claim will be forever barred. In California, the statute of limitations for personal injury in a car accident is two years. If you are suing for property damage only, you have three years to file your claim.

Get Experienced Legal Representation

Our San Diego car accident lawyers at jD LAW, P.C. can investigate your accident to determine fault and liability, gather and preserve evidence to support your claim, assess the full extent of your damages, negotiate skillfully with insurance companies on your behalf, and fight for the compensation you deserve in court, if necessary. Contact us at (760) 630-2000 to schedule a free consultation. We can tell you if you have a case and what damages you may be entitled to claim.

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Posted in: Car Accidents

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A note from James N. Dicks:

Although COVID-19 has caused great uncertainty, we want to assure that our firm is operating remotely to accommodate all current, past, and future clients in need of any of our services. The best way to communicate with us is by telephone (760) 630-2000 or email info@jdlaw.law.

Currently San Diego Superior Courts are closed but are set to reopen on Tuesday May 26th, 2020 barring any
future orders.

Do not hesitate to contact us with any questions. Sending our thoughts and best wishes to you and your family. Please follow us on Facebook for any future updates.


Aunque COVID-19 ha causado una gran incertidumbre, queremos asegurarles que nuestra oficina esta operando de forma remota para todos los clientes actuales, pasados y futuros que necesiten alguno de nuestros servicios. La mejor manera de comunicarse con nosotros es por teléfono (760) 630-2000 o por correo electrónico a info@jdlaw.law.

Los Tribunales Superiores de San Diego están cerrados, pero están programados para reabrir el martes 26 de mayo de 2020, salvo una nueva orden.

No dude en contactarnos si tiene alguna pregunta. Estamos enviando nuestros pensamientos y mejores deseos para usted y su familia. Síganos en Facebook para seguir siendo informado de novedades nuevas.


James N. Dicks
jD LAW, P.C.

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COVID-19 Announcement

Although COVID-19 has caused great uncertainty, we want to assure that our firm is operating remotely to accommodate all current, past, and future clients in need of any of our services. The best way to communicate with us is by telephone (760) 630-2000 or email info@jdlaw.law. Do not hesitate to contact us with any questions. Sending our thoughts and best wishes to you and your family.


Aunque COVID-19 ha causado una gran incertidumbre, queremos asegurarles que nuestra oficina esta operando de forma remota para todos los clientes actuales, pasados y futuros que necesiten alguno de nuestros servicios. La mejor manera de comunicarse con nosotros es por teléfono (760) 630-2000 o por correo electrónico a info@jdlaw.law. No dude en contactarnos si tiene alguna pregunta. Estamos enviando nuestros pensamientos y mejores deseos para usted y su familia.

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