One of the immediate results of Governor Newsom’s statewide stay at home order for California was that there were less cars on the road. But even with the reduced amount of traffic, there is still always a chance of an auto collision.
A car accident during normal times is stressful enough. With everything that’s going on today, it only adds to it.
With San Diego county beginning to loosen restrictions, more people are finding their way out on the road. It’s important to take COVID-19 safety precautions into consideration to make sure everyone stays protected. Here are some tips to help safely handle a car accident in San Diego during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Tips to Handle a Car Accident in San Diego During COVID-19
1. Stay calm and if possible, park the car and move to a safe place
First and foremost, stay calm. It’s likely the other driver made a mistake and didn’t cause the accident on purpose. Remaining calm will only help the situation. If your accident was minor, try to safely move the car out of the way of traffic. Make sure to put your hazard lights on to alert other drivers they need to slow down.
2. Check on Injuries and Call 911
Check yourself, passengers, and other parties for injuries. Call 911 if anyone was injured. This is important because even minor injuries may result in serious health complications.
3. Collect Information Maintaining Social Distancing
It is important to gather the other party’s and witnesses information, especially including the other driver’s license and proof of insurance. Make sure to keep a distance of six feet at all times. If you have a mask and gloves, wear them when interacting with other parties.
Instead of handing each other documents, exchange numbers and send texts to confirm the number is correct. Text all required information and/or photos to the other driver.
You can also ask the other party to place their documents on a safe, flat surface, so you can take pictures or write it down.
If you take pictures, make sure that all writing is visible before proceeding.
If the other driver engages in behaviour that makes you feel unsafe, wait in your car until the police arrive.
4. Document the Scene of the Accident
If able, take pictures with your phone of the damage to the vehicles, where they ended up, the surrounding road/intersection, and any possible obstructions that caused it. Also note road conditions and any other relevant factors.
5. Stick to the Facts When Talking to Police
Don’t assume anything when you’re talking to police. This includes the speed of the car that hit you and placing blame. Only stick to the facts.
If the police don’t appear, make sure to file an accident report with the DMV
6. Seek Immediate Medical Attention
This is extremely important. First, your health is the top priority. Second, this will help document the accident and related injuries. If your injuries don’t require emergency attention, there are other alternatives available.
If you’re concerned about exposure to others at the ER or Urgent Care, contact your primary care provider or an advice nurse for recommendations. Telemedicine appointments may be available as an alternative to an in-person visit.
Whatever you do, don’t delay. It’s critical to seek immediate medical attention after a car accident because insurance companies will argue your injuries weren’t serious because you waited to see a doctor.
7. Contact Your Insurance
Under your own policy, you’re required to notify your insurance. Tell them the facts of what happened. Again, don’t assume.
If the at fault party’s insurance contacts you, you’re under no obligation to give them a recorded statement. They can use these against you. We recommend speaking with an attorney before giving any statements.
8. Expect Delays
COVID-19 has affected every reach of life. This means that from the initial police call to medical treatment to even the claims process, things may take longer than usual.
Car accident injury claims and lawsuits are facing slower processing timelines during the pandemic. Additionally, medical providers are limiting procedures and available treatments due to some being lower priority.
9. Consider Talking to an Experienced San Diego Car Accident Lawyer
Insurance companies use many tricks to get people to settle their claims for less than they’re worth. One of these is by telling people they don’t need representation. There is no cost or obligation in speaking with a car accident lawyer. Depending on the extent of your injuries, it may be especially important to have one on your side.
My name is Daniel Hanecak and I am a San Diego Car Accident Lawyer. I know from personal experience how stressful and time consuming a car accident can be. When you call Hanecak Law Inc., you will speak with me directly. It is my aim to provide you with free and friendly advice. Call me today at 858-206-4DAN for a free case evaluation.
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