Being in a car accident is a traumatic experience. It can be difficult to know what steps to take after an accident, and it is important to make sure you are doing the right thing in order to protect yourself and your interests. Here, we will discuss some of the things you should do—and not do—after a car accident.
What You Should Do After a Car Accident
Find a Safe Place to Pull Over!
After an accident, the most important thing is to pull over and ensure that all vehicles involved are out of the way of traffic, if possible. This will minimize the risk of further accidents occurring due to traffic congestion near where you have been stopped. Do not drive away from the scene of the accident! In North Carolina, it is a crime to leave an accident scene where your car was involved or where there was serious injury.
Call the Proper Authorities
Local law enforcement should be called immediately in the event of a crash. In addition to providing necessary care, if applicable, they will be able to provide you with two important pieces of information:
- Driver Exchange of Information Form – Contains basic contact information of parties involved as well as vehicle information, insurance companies and policy numbers.
- Accident Report - A detailed report that includes information of the parties involved, the officer’s interpretation of the accident based on witness statements and evidence, and a diagram of how they believed the crash happened.
Take Photographs or Video
Additionally, take pictures or videos of the scene and of any damage done to either vehicle involved in the incident; this documentation may come in handy later on when filing an insurance claim. These pictures can be used to either corroborate or refute an accident report or denied claim. Record different angles and vantage points, vehicle damage and debris, traffic lights and even your injuries, if possible.
Seek Medical Treatment
If you sustained any injuries, seek medical attention as soon as possible. Even if the accident seemed minor at the time, some physical pain and damage may not be immediately apparent after a crash. Ensure that you are properly treated for any potential injuries before leaving an accident scene.
Report the Accident to Insurance
Once you have all of the needed information and have had any medical issues addressed, contact your insurance company and report the accident. Make sure to keep a record of this call and provide the insurance adjuster with all relevant evidence related to the incident.
What Not To Do After an Accident
When the law enforcement officer is documenting the circumstances surrounding the accident, it is important to remain as accurate as possible. If you do not know the answer to a question, do not guess or make assumptions. For example, if you do not know the exact speed you were going, do not speculate. Further, if you are asked about any injuries, and you do not feel injured, do not say “no”. Many injuries can develop after the fact, sometimes even days after an accident.
Don’t Apologize or Admit Fault
Do not apologize or admit fault to anyone, including law enforcement and the other drivers. Fault can be determined later by insurance companies after they have reviewed evidence; while it may seem courteous to apologize as a way of being polite and cooperative, this could be interpreted as an admission of guilt that can work against you.
Post on Social Media About the Accident
Finally, do not post anything on social media regarding the accident. Any posts could potentially be used against you in insurance claims or court cases. It is best to remain silent and discuss the incident only with an attorney.
How an Experienced Car Accident Attorney in Durham, NC Can Help
Dealing with the aftermath of a car accident can be stressful and complicated. An experienced attorney can help you to understand your rights and make sure that your interests are protected throughout the process. The attorneys at Wallace Pierce Law have years of experience in handling all types of car accidents and helping injured victims get the compensation they are rightfully owed.
If you or a loved one have been injured in a car accident, contact us today at (919) 887-7892 or fill out a form online for a free consultation.