With the increasing number of vehicles in California roadways, the number of traffic accidents reported daily has also significantly risen. Unlike car crashes, traffic accidents and mishaps involving heavy freight-bearing trucks can prove disastrous to other road users. It is very crucial for a truck driver to know what to do after an accident to ensure the safety of road users and especially if they plan to pursue compensation for his/her losses.
When an accident occurs, California laws require the motorist to render “reasonable assistance” to anyone injured in an accident. This may involve calling for help or getting them to medical providers.
The law (California Vehicle Code Section 20003) also requires the motorists to provide the following information to the authorities;
- Their name/address
- The names and addresses of other occupants of any other vehicle involved in the accident.
- The vehicle registration and insurance
- Driver’s license
The driver is advised to contact law enforcement as soon as possible. The police will then prepare an accident report, which is crucial in establish the liability of drivers or their employers. One can seek to recover compensation from trucking companies if they were negligent in hiring their drivers or failed to follow the federal and state regulations that apply to commercial trucking.
California law also holds drivers liable for damage to roads or bridges. California Vehicle Code Section 17300 states that a motorist who willfully or negligently damages a street or highway, or its appurtenances, including, but not limited to, guardrails, signs, traffic signals, snow poles, and similar facilities, is liable for the reasonable cost of repair or replacement thereof. This law also stipulates that anyone who willfully or negligently causes or permits the contents of a vehicle to be deposited upon a street or highway, or its appurtenances, is liable for the reasonable costs of removing those contents from the street or highway or its appurtenances.
Regarding damages to bridges, Section 17301 of the California Vehicle Code states that any person driving any vehicle, object, or contrivance over a highway or bridge is liable for all damages which the highway or bridge may sustain as a result of any illegal operation, driving or moving of the vehicle, object, or contrivance.