What To Do and Not Do After a Car Accident
Any type of motor vehicle accident can be a stressful and overwhelming event. After a car, motorcycle or trucking accident, many thoughts can run through your head all at once ranging from: injuries, possible medical costs, vehicle damage, the cost of repairs, and insurance implications.
To help preserve your rights and enable you to recover the maximum amount of compensation possible for your injuries, we recommend you do the following after an accident:
- Stop & Pull Over: without blocking traffic more than is necessary, stop and pull your vehicle near the accident scene. Indeed, North Carolina law requires drivers involved in an accident resulting in property damage, injury or death to stop their vehicles and remain at the scene. Failure to do so may result in criminal charges.
- Check for Injuries: if someone is seriously injured, immediately call 911 for an ambulance. Do not move that person unless their car is on fire or at risk for catching on fire.
- Call the Police: a police report assists in creating a record of who is liable for the accident. Even if the at-fault driver offers you money, call the police to report the accident. Moreover, North Carolina law requires that the police be called for accidents resulting in property damage, personal injury or death. You must cooperate with the officer by providing the basic facts, but you are never required to admit fault/liability or give an opinion as to the cause of the accident. Furthermore, you have the right to consult a lawyer before making any statement to the police.
- Exchange Information: North Carolina requires that all drivers involved in an accident exchange names, phone numbers, addresses, driver’s license numbers, and vehicle registration numbers. Although not required, it is advisable that you also obtain each party’s insurance policy number.
- Take Notes: write down all significant circumstances concerning the accident, including diagramming the scene and the position of cars. In addition, obtain the name, contact information, and statement of all witnesses to the accident. Write down anything the at-fault party says or anything a witness claims the at-fault said. If possible, take pictures of the accident scene and any property damage. Do not show these notes to anyone other than your attorney.
- Notify Insurance: even if you are not at-fault, report the accident to your insurer. Failure to do so may impact your ability to file a claim in the future. Similarly, report the accident to the at-fault party’s insurer in case they do not.
- Seek Medical Care: not all injuries are immediately observable so it is a good idea to see a doctor to ensure that you do not have any serious or costly injuries.
- Maintain Receipts and Expenses: keep track of all out-of-pocket expenses incurred as a result of the accident. Doing this ensures that you are fully compensated in the future.
What you should not do after a car accident can be just as essential to preserving your rights. Therefore, the attorneys at Wilson Law, P.A. recommend that you not do the following:
- Admit Fault or Wrongdoing: You are not required to admit fault or liability. Do not admit fault or offer opinions as to the cause of the accident. Any statement you make about the accident, whether written or oral, may be used against you. Consult an attorney before making any statement.
- Sign Anything from an Insurance Company: have a lawyer review any documents from an insurance company before signing. Signing these documents may give up your legal right to pursue compensation for your injuries and damages.
- Talk to Other Party’s Insurance Adjuster: the at-fault party’s insurance company will investigate the claim and may seek to question you. You do not have to talk to them, regardless of what they may tell you.
- Pay Other Party: any payment or promise to pay the other party would be at your own risk.
Contact An Experienced North Carolina Car Accident Lawyer. For more information about your rights, responsibilities, liability or insurance coverage following a car accident, contact Wilson Law, P.A at (919) 800-0919 to schedule a free car accident consultation. The attorneys at Wilson Law, P.A. have years of experience in representing individuals involved in car accidents and serve clients throughout North Carolina.