What To Do When You Are Involved In An Accident

Hit and Run in the Mission District

SFGate.com reports that on Saturday, June 18, 2011, a motorist on the 2200 block of Mission Street near 18th Street struck and killed a man. Witnesses say the vehicle was a white Chevrolet van  driven by an African American man. The driver fled the scene and the investigation is still in its infancy. For more on this story, see the link below:


California Vehicle Code §20001 creates a legal duty that drivers involved in an accident resulting in injury or death shall immediately stop the vehicle at the scene. If a driver does not, possible consequences are being jailed  or imprisoned for a maximum of one year. Additionally, there may be a fine of not less than $1,000 ranging to a maximum of $10,000. A combination of a fine and jail or prison may also be implemented.

Once you are stopped at the scene, California Vehicle Code §20003 instructs you on what to do. This statute instructs that parties do the following:

  1. Exchange name, current residence address
  2. Exchange the names and current residence addresses of occupants of the vehicle that is injured,
  3. Exchange the registration number of the vehicle
  4. Exchange name and current address of owner of the vehicle (also to be be given to those occupants or other parties that were injured)
  5. Exhibit driver’s license and any other available identification
  6. Render reasonable assistance to the injured party – transporting or making arrangements for transporting the injured party to a hospital for medical treatment if necessary or if requested by the injured party

Not mentioned in the statute is the exchanging of insurance information as well. Also, §20004 also requires that an accident that results in death must be reported to the nearest CHP office or other police agency.

Panic is one of many emotions and reactions that arise following an accident, but it is important to stay calm, follow the directions in §20003 and exchange insurance information, and most importantly, not to run from the scene.