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Should You Move to the Side of the Road After a Crash in California?

When you’re in a car accident in California, you have a lot of things happening. You have to worry about injuries, damage to your passengers, damage to your car, and getting medical attention. But the key thing you’ll need to do in any car accident is getting to a safe place. The question is, where and how do you do that?

California law attempts to take on this issue in Section 22651 of the Vehicle Code. This part of the law sets the guidelines and authority for towing vehicles. Generally speaking, your car can be towed and impounded if it is:

  • Parked illegally
  • Blocking traffic or emergency vehicles and fire lanes
  • Left unattended or abandoned
  • Disabled for a long period of time
  • Involved in unlawful activities
  • Subject to unpaid fines or parking tickets

While this sets guidelines in specific situations, it’s important to understand that a car accident is a bit different. Most likely, your car will be blocking traffic or disabled after an accident. That said, one of the first things you should do after an accident is to get to a safe place–most of the time this is going to be on the side of the road.

What Do You Need to Do After a Car Accident?

Getting to safety and checking any injuries should be your top priority after a car accident. Once you’re in a safe place, though, there’s some other things you’ll need to do:

  • Get medical attention
  • Call the police so they can begin clearing the scene
  • Exchange insurance and contact information with anyone else involved

Taking these steps will not only protect your health and safety, but also any potential legal action you may want to take. In terms of what will happen to your car, make sure to speak with your insurance carrier and the police, both of which will be involved in the towing and repair process.

Who Pays For Damage to My Car?

Any damage to your car in an accident–including towing expenses–is going to be paid for by:

  • The person or party responsible for causing the accident.

In a typical car accident, this will be the other driver, but fleshing out liability isn’t always straightforward. In fact, depending on the circumstances, a number of different parties could be responsible:

  • Passengers
  • Pedestrians
  • Bicyclists
  • Other drivers
  • Third parties
  • Government agencies

The reason this is so important is because California law also allows you, the victim, to file an injury claim for damages against all responsible parties in the accident. This covers things like your medical expenses, pain and suffering, lost wages, and yes, damage to your vehicle. If your vehicle is totaled, it could even cover the cost of replacing it.

No matter what the circumstances are that went into your car accident, what’s important to remember is that your health and safety are the most important thing. If you have questions about the process and what your rights are, consider reaching out to an experienced team of California car accident lawyers.

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