When involved in a car accident, it’s crucial to make necessary measures to protect your rights. Knowing what to do and not do after a crash is important because it may affect your chance of making a claim or a lawsuit against the person who’s at fault for the accident.
1. Never leave the scene of the accident.
You must never leave the scene of the accident especially if you feel that you were the one responsible for the accident. If you escape from the accident, there are a few things that may happen to you:
- Misdemeanor hit-and-run. In the US, if you escape from an accident that only resulted in property damage, you’ll be subject to misdemeanor hit-and-run. Misdemeanor hit-and-run charges often leads to a hefty fine and jail time.
- Felony hit-and-run. If you escape from an accident that resulted in injuries or death, you’ll be charged with felony hit-and-run. Penalties for felony hit-and-run vary by state, but they most likely subject you to a fine no less than $10,000 and possible incarceration.
- Warrant for your arrest. If you escape from an accident and the police find out that you were really responsible for it, there will be a warrant for your arrest and it is most likely that you’ll be located.
2. Call the local or state police.
The next logical thing to do after an accident is to inform the local or state police. Having the presence of local or state authorities at the scene of the accident will ensure that the crash is officially and legally recorded. The police will also protect critical evidence found at the scene of the accident.
3. Gather evidence and take pictures of the accident as much as you can.
Before any changes to the scene of the accident are made, try to gather evidence and take pictures as much as you can.
- Take pictures of the damages of the accident.
- Talk to witnesses around the area as well and take note of their own accounts of the accident.
- Collect names and contact information from everyone involved in the accident.
- Exchange information with the other party involved in the accident such as name, contact information, driver’s license number, insurance company name and insurance policy numbers.
All evidence, information, and pictures can provide crucial information as to what caused the accident and can help in making a claim later on.
4. Notify your insurance company.
All insurance companies require you to notify them immediately if you are involved in an accident. When calling your insurance company, be sure to tell them about some minute details of the accident such as the time and the location of the accident. However, you must be careful when giving information about the accident to your insurance company.
Here are some things that you need to be cautious about when notifying your insurance company about your car accident.
- Avoid describing your injury to your insurance company.
- Don’t answer all their questions especially if they are asking when can you work again.
- Avoid giving them further details about the crash.
Your insurance company may try to misinterpret this information and use it against you, especially if you are making a claim.
5. Avoid talking to the other driver’s insurance company.
You mustn’t talk to anyone about your car accident, especially the other driver’s insurance company, without the knowledge of your attorney. You should only discuss the details of the accident with your attorney. If the other insurance company may try to contact you, tell them to talk to your lawyer first.
6. Protect your rights.
One of the most important things to do if you were involved in a car accident is to consult an attorney. By consulting a lawyer familiar with motorcycle or car accidents, you’ll be able to protect your rights. There are a couple of other things that a car accident attorney can do to help strengthen your case and to help you receive a fair amount of compensation or settlement.
- Your attorney can ensure that no critical evidence is ignored or destroyed.
- Your attorney can give you proper legal advice before you start talking to insurance companies and the authorities.
- Your attorney will help you get the best medical treatment and make sure that you are fully compensated.
Being involved in a car is stressful and often chaotic, but having experienced legal counsel on your side can help reduce the burden. Personal injury lawyers and car accident attorneys are here to make sure that your rights are protected and you get the compensation you deserve.
Disclaimer: This article is for general and informational purposes only. It is not intended to be legal advice in these matters. Consult your attorney if you have any questions about what legal actions you can take when involved in a car accident.