As you drive along North Carolina’s roads, highways and freeways, you undoubtedly see your fair share of accidents. You may even have been involved in one or more of them yourself. If you have been fortunate enough to remain accident free, have you ever stopped to wonder what you should do after becoming involved in one?
FindLaw explains that, should you ever find yourself involved in an accident, the first thing you should do is stay at the scene. Even if the accident is a minor one with only minimal property damage, you should stay there until law enforcement officers get there and say you can leave. If you leave too soon, they may charge you you with leaving the scene or, worse yet, with hit and run.
Check for injuries
Naturally you should check to see if you or your passengers suffered any injuries. If so, call 911 via your cellphone and request immediate emergency medical assistance as well as law enforcement assistance. Even if you and your passengers all appear to have suffered no injuries, check the drivers and passengers of all other vehicles involved in the crash and, if necessary, call 911 on their behalf.
Gather personal information
Talk with all other drivers involved in the accident and get the following information for each:
- Name, address, telephone number, email address
- Driver’s license number and state
- License plate number, county and state
- Insurance carrier name and phone number
While it always pays to be as cordial as possible with the other drivers, under no circumstances should you say anything to anyone that indicates in any way that you think you might have caused the accident. If you do, such statements could come back to haunt you if someone decides to sue you.
Gather vehicle information
Next, use your cellphone to take pictures of your vehicle as well as all others involved in the accident, documenting the following for each:
- The make and model of the vehicle
- The license plate
- Any signs of new damage caused by the accident
- Any signs of existing damage prior to the accident
Make a police report
Talk with the officers when they arrive, but again, do not say anything that they could consider as self-incriminating. Just answer the questions they ask you as briefly and succinctly as possible. Do not volunteer any additional information. Make sure to write down each officer’s name and badge number and ask the officer writing the report how and when you can get a copy of it.
Lastly, call your own insurance company. Again, be as brief as possible and make no self-incriminatory statements. This is general educational information and not intended to provide legal advice.