Disclaimer: This article should not be treated as legal advice. It’s recommended that readers still consult legal counsel and contact a lawyer should they have any concerns regarding this topic.
Being in a car accident can be a stressful ordeal, especially if you don't have a good grasp on what to do and what not to do in these situations. If you're a concerned civilian and you want to learn the basics when it comes to the legalities of a car accident, this article is for you. Please do remember however that item in this article is not legal advice, so it's still best you consult legal counsel or a lawyer in order to fully learn the intricacies of these situations.
With this in mind, here are some of the key things to remember legally when involved in a car accident
Don't Leave the Scene
When it comes to vehicular accidents, always remember that if you're involved, don't leave the scene unless you are sure that it's safe to go. The best person to tell you that is your lawyer and legal counsel, which means it only makes sense for them to be the ones to tell you when it is safe for you to actually leave the scene of the accident.
- This is important, as leaving the scene might give the impression that you're at fault, and hit-and-run drivers can suffer from strict penalties.
- It's also important not to leave the scene immediately when law enforcement arrives as it’s important that you’re there long enough so they can properly take your statement.
Call for Help of Local Authorities
If you're in an accident and you've seen that there are injured parties, try to immediately call for medical assistance and the authorities. Don't leave the scene, of course, but be in the vicinity where you're in no harm's way. Don't try to offer medical assistance to any injured party as you might worsen their condition unless you're a licensed physician or trained in first aid. Even then, it's best to ask your lawyer if you can administer first aid in situations like these.
- Try to call your insurance provider as well and give them your most accurate account of the events. This will give them a heads up, especially if you may have to use your insurance coverage on certain aspects of the incident, such as your health or your vehicle if ever there is a need for repairs.
- In terms of the authorities, do your best to honestly and completely share all details with the police. Try to call for your legal counsel immediately so they can go to your location and give you efficient advice on how to deal with the situation properly.
It is important that you hire legal counsel that is from your own state or the state in which you have suffered the accident from. For example, if you have faced an auto accident in Atlanta you need someone who is familiar with the legal terrain and landscape of the region. This will help in easing the legal process as there will already be familiarity with the law enforcement and judicial authorities.
Gather Relevant Information
When you're still at the scene, try your best to gather as much information as you could about the situation. This is important as it allows you to get a good grasp of the situation before your legal counsel arrives, and in order for you to get the most accurate details of the scenario without the risk of stating your facts wrong.
- If it's possible, try to politely ask for details from everyone on the scene, including the responding officers and their names, license numbers, and badge numbers. In terms of the people involved, politely ask for their names, addresses, and contact details in order for you to get a good grasp on your information as well.
- Try to take pictures if you have a camera with you, especially if you have injuries or if your car is damaged. This helps solidify your claim to the insurance company, especially if your legal counsel's advice is to opt for legal action against the other parties.
- If you're by any chance going to end up in a hospital or having to spend money to repair your vehicle or treat yourself, try as much as possible to have copies of all receipts and official records of the treatments and things you've purchased since the incident. This allows you to have receipts to be reimbursed should your legal counsel advise you to have them be used in your claims for your insurance coverage.
The above list may seem to be a bit overwhelming, especially if you take into account that being involved in a car accident causes a lot of stress in the actual event of the incident. However, try to remember that a cool head and knowing what to do can help you look at the situation in a proper manner and, with the help of a lawyer or legal counsel, be able to navigate your way through these situations without violating any laws. If you want to seek the services of a lawyer to know more about these situations, find an auto accident attorney who’s experienced in your local area.