What should I do if I am involved in an auto accident?
Drivers of vehicles involved in collisions resulting in personal injury, death, or property damage are required by North Carolina law to stop their vehicles at the scene of the collision.
2. Help Injured People
Check to see if anyone is injured. Often injuries do not appear until after leaving the scene, but often injuries are immediately apparent. If anyone at the scene is seriously injured, try to find a doctor quickly and/or call an ambulance. If anyone requests an ambulance, call one. If anyone needs your assistance getting to a doctor or hospital, try to help by transporting such people yourself, if that is possible. Be careful with injured people, but be assured that in North Carolina you cannot be held liable for helping someone unless you injure him/her intentionally or recklessly.
3. Call the Police.
It is a good idea to call the police to the scene of any auto collision. If anyone is hurt or killed by the collision, or if there is property damage of $1000 or more, you must call the police to the scene. Even if no injuries are apparent, call the police. Injuries often only appear later after the initial shock. An official police report might help you later, if you make a liability claim for injuries.
4. Protect the Scene
Try to prevent further accidents. If you can, have someone warn those vehicles approaching the scene. At night, use any safe illumination you can find.
5. Help the Police
If the collision is serious, call a lawyer as soon as possible. Unless you must leave the scene because of your injuries, remain at the scene until the police arrive. Assist the officer by explaining basically what occurred. You cannot be required to judge the cause of the collision at any time, and you do have a right to consult a lawyer before making a statement.
What should I do before I leave the scene?
1. Get the identity of the other driver
Make sure that you have a name, address, phone number, insurance policy number, and license plate number.
2. Gather witnesses
As soon as possible, get the names of those with information about the collision. Also, get addresses, and phone numbers. If possible, ask witnesses to write a statement of what they believe occurred.
3. Gather other evidence
If possible, write your own notes about what happened. Record the position of the vehicles involved before and after the collision. Draw diagrams. Measure important distances, such as the distances traveled by the vehicles after impact or the length of skid marks. Also, if possible, take photos of the scene and the cars involved.
What should I not do, if I am involved in an automobile collision?
1. Do not admit liability or fault
If the police arrest you or charge you with any traffic offense, do not admit liability or guilt before you consult a lawyer. Do not admit anything or sign anything because, even if you think you are in the wrong, you may be mistaken.
2. Do not make or accept any payment or offer of payment
What should I do after I leave the scene?
1. Visit a doctor.
Remember that severe and expensive injuries do not necessarily result in immediate pain and suffering.
2. Notify and inform your insurance company
Make a complete report to your insurance company. Your lawyer can do this for you.
3. Be careful what you sign and who you trust.
4. Select your own lawyer.
Do not let anyone hurry you into accepting a settlement. Choose a lawyer to advise you. A lawyer like Ray Kline is trained to help you deal with the problems resulting from an automobile collision.