How to Exchange Information With the Other Driver Involved in the California Car Accident

Even though getting involved in an automobile collision can be frightening and stressful, it’s important to act appropriately. It is legally required in the state of California to exchange information with the other driver involved in the collision. By going through this procedure, it is made sure that all parties have the information needed for insurance claims and any legal actions. This is a thorough tutorial explaining information sharing following a collision in California.[1]

Make the Safety of Everyone your Top-most Priority

Put safety first before discussing the information exchange. If at all feasible, move your car to a safe spot and look for any injuries. Moving your car to a safe place would ensure that there is no other accident at the accident scene. It should be noted that if the car is not moved or if signs of an accident are not put in place, it is possible that incoming drivers may not know that an accident has happened. Because they may not be aware of the same, it is more than likely that they shall drive into the accident scene bringing about more injuries and greater property damage. Moreover, the uninformed action of the incoming drivers may likely result in calamities. It follows from this that you must ensure that you move your car to a safer place or at least put in place signs to indicate that an accident has happened. This will ensure that you and the people at the accident scene are safe.

If someone needs medical assistance, call for emergency help right away. It is fundamental to check on the extent to which people have been injured at the accident scene. While some injuries may come out clearly as serious, some injuries may not show any signs. It is therefore fundamental that you check on the people who have been involved in the accident and ensure that those who have been injured are adequately attended to to ensure that there are no fatalities or serious injuries in the accident. You must also ensure that you seek medical attention as soon as possible so that the extent of your injuries is checked as soon as possible.

California car accident: Contact the Police to Visit the Scene

In California, reporting an accident to the California Highway Patrol (CHP) or local authorities is advised, particularly if there are injuries or major property damage. An unbiased record of the occurrence, which may be essential for insurance claims, can be found in a police report.

One of the most beneficial things you can do following any kind of car collision is to call the police. This suggestion is appropriate in almost all cases. Occasionally, the impact is so minor that one or both drivers decide not to report it, or the police decide they don’t need to attend. However, you should always report the incident, even if the police are not called.[2]

It should be noted that the police report shall be very instrumental in determining fault. It is therefore extremely necessary that you stick around after the accident, wait for the police and give them your version of the story so that the same can be captured in the police report. You must also request for a copy of the police report and raise any issue about its accuracy as soon as possible so that the same can be adjusted accordingly.

California Car Accident How to Exchange Information With the Other Driver Involved in the Accident

Get Basic Details of all the Parties

It’s critical to exchange fundamental details with the other driver, whether or not law enforcement is engaged. Give and gather the information below:

  • Names of all the parties involved- It is vital that you have the names of the parties involved in the accident so that you can use the information when compiling your personal injury claim or property damage claim.
  • Physical addresses of the concerned parties- Having the physical addresses of the parties involved would ensure that you have all the details necessary for instituting your personal or property damage claim. You should therefore ensure that you request for the physical addresses of the people involved in the accident.
  • Telephone contacts- Having the telephone contacts of the people who were involved in the accident would be very vital when putting together the witness statements. Having their telephone contacts would make it easier for your car accident injury lawyer to contact them. Their version of events would be crucial in determining fault.
  • License details of the counterpart driver- You should also ensure that you have the license numbers of the drivers of the cars involved in the accident.
  • License plate numbers of the motor vehicles involved- the identity of the cars involved in the accident is fundamental in determining fault as the identity of the owners of these cars would be known after a search of the car is done. As the registration numbers of the cars must be displayed, it is easier to get them. Moreover, having such information would be crucial in the event the drivers have given erroneous details or no details at all.
  • Details of insurance companies: It is important to take note of the names of the insurance companies and the policy numbers of the insurance policies in place. The details would be very vital when filing an insurance claim.

Gather all the Relevant Documentation

Take photos of the crash scene that show the vehicles that were involved, any damage that was done, and any pertinent traffic signals or signs. This paperwork might be a useful piece of proof when filing a claim.[3]

It is fundamental to note that you should take pictures and notes of the accident scene. After taking the pictures and videos of the accident, it is fundamental that you keep them in a safe place so that you can easily retrieve them as and when they are required. These pictures and videos would be extremely necessary when filing your personal injury claim or property damage claim as they shall greatly assist the court in determining fault.

Do not Admit any Liability!

Information sharing is vital, but don’t give away your mistakes or say anything that can be taken as a confession of culpability. Remain true to the facts and leave determining liability to insurance firms and, if required, the legal system.

Admitting liability shall greatly reduce your chances of getting the compensation that you truly deserve. The other party, their insurance company and their attorneys shall greatly rely on your admission of liability to challenge any amount of money that you seek as compensation. It follows from this that you should exercise an admirable level of restraint so as not to admit any level of liability for the accident.

Collect Witnesses’ Account

Get the names and contact details of those who witnessed the accident if there are any. Independent witnesses can confirm your version of events and offer additional viewpoints. You must take the phone numbers of the witnesses so that you can reach out to them when preparing statements in support of your case.

File the Accident Report with the Police

In California, you have ten days to submit a Traffic Collision Report (Form SR-1) with the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) if the police do not investigate the collision and one of the following applies:

– There was property damage of $1,000 or more
Did someone die or was injured?

In this case, the crash report you file or the police crash report will be crucial. The police report will be used to determine each person’s relative contribution to the accident. Your attorney may bring up the police report in discussions with your insurance company regarding benefits for missing income and medical care. Although police reports are not admissible as evidence in court, they can provide valuable information that your attorney can use to bolster your case. It is simple to locate any witnesses to the accident who might be able to provide a statement regarding what they observed.[4]

File Information with your Insurance Firm

Inform your insurance provider of the accident as soon as possible. Give them all the data gathered, including witness accounts and the police report. It is fundamental that you get to understand the timelines with which your insurance company requires you to report the accident so that you can stick to the timelines and avoid complications that would ordinarily arise when you report the accident late.

Assist the Relevant Authorities

If the police are called, assist them with their inquiry to the fullest extent possible. Answer inquiries honestly, but once more, refrain from apologizing without first getting legal counsel. You must assist the authorities with the correct information so that you ensure that an accurate report of the accident comes out of their investigations. You must seek legal counsel before engaging with the authorities so that you can avoid incriminating yourself.

Retain an Attorney while Pursuing your Claim!

If the collision leads to disagreements or complications, think about speaking with a lawyer knowledgeable about California traffic regulations. They can offer direction on handling the situation’s legal ramifications.

Call Big Ben Law Firm to schedule a free preliminary consultation. We shall help you get the best out of your claim. Call us today through our contacts available online.

While not necessary, it is sensible to retain the services of a knowledgeable auto accident attorney. Even after a minor incident, your automobile could suffer severe damage or you could have catastrophic injuries. While filing a police report is a useful initial step, an experienced car accident attorney can use that record as evidence for your workers’ compensation claim.
If the insurance company offers you a cash settlement and you’re not content with it, you should see an experienced vehicle accident lawyer. Moreover, insurance companies are known to send adjusters to accident sites to get drivers to take a settlement while they are still in a non-compliant state, so you should never accept the first offer.

Every day, auto insurance adjusters deal with collisions. That’s what they carry out. Because of that job, they also want to pay you as little money as possible. An experienced vehicle accident attorney will know exactly which traps to avoid so that you can get the benefits to which you are lawfully entitled.

If you were in a more serious accident and are still recovering from your injuries, it could be difficult for you to obtain the required paperwork and fulfil all of the filing deadlines for your insurance claim. In addition to making sure that all claims are filed on time, an experienced auto accident attorney can help locate and communicate with any witnesses.[5]

Importance of exchanging information

In California, exchanging information following an automobile accident is essential to a seamless claims procedure. By taking these actions and abiding by the particular traffic laws in California, you may safeguard your rights and help bring the regrettable incident to a just conclusion. Recall that the most important factors in handling the aftermath of an automobile accident are safety, openness, and adherence to legal standards.

Related FAQS

Q: Should I admit liability following an accident?

A: Do not admit liability even if you are aware that you are at fault for an accident.

Q: What is the statute of limitations for personal injury claims in California?

A: You must file your personal injury claims within two years from the occurrence of the accident.

Q: Should I just take any lawyer to represent me in my pursuit of compensation?

A: You must ensure that you screen the lawyers before hiring them. You must look at their capacity to deliver as well as their experience. You must take your time before settling on a lawyer.

Importance of seeking legal counsel

You must seek legal counsel as soon as you are involved in an accident. Seeking legal counsel will ensure that you only take steps that are legally sound and ones that may not have the possibility of negatively affecting your compensation claim. It is important to note that most lawyers in California will give you a free consultation after you reach out to them. It is therefore vital that you reach out to lawyers who are competent and experienced in dealing with accidents in California.

At Big Ben Lawyers, we have the experience and the capacity to help you deal with your personal injury claim. We are available throughout the day and the year so that we can advise you on the best steps to take to ensure that you are adequately compensated.

Contact us today and get the best representation.

Big Ben Lawyers
144 N Glendale Ave.
Suite 250
Glendale, CA 91206


1. California Vehicle Code.

2. Californian Department of Motor Vehicles, Vehicle Collisions, available at, accessed on 21st February, 2024.

3. Progressive, What to do after a Car Accident, available at, accessed on 22nd February, 2024.

[1] California Vehicle Code, Code § 16025.

[2] DMV, Vehicle Collisions, available at, accessed on 21st February, 2024.

[3] California Department of Motor Vehicle, available at, accessed on 22nd February, 2024.

[4] Ibid.

[5] Progressive, What to do after a Car Accident, available at, accessed on 22nd February, 2024.


Glendale Office

144 N Glendale Ave.
Suite 250
Glendale, CA 91206

(818) 423-4878

Fresno Office

1221 Van Ness Ave
Suite 307
Fresno, CA 93721

(559) 354-6344

Ontario Office

3281 E. Guasti Rd
7th Floor
Ontario, CA 91761

(909) 235-5886

Riverside Office

11801 Pierce St.
Suite 200
Riverside CA 92505

(951) 561-2002

Sacramento Office

1015 2nd St
Second Floor, Suite B
Sacramento, CA 95814

(916) 860-7800

San Bernadino Office

473 E Carnegie Dr
Suite 200
San Bernardino, CA 92408

(909) 963-0750

Book your free consultation right now