If you're wondering what to do in case of an auto accident, the law requires the driver of any vehicle involved in an accident to immediately stop at the scene. Make sure you're not blocking traffic any more than necessary. If the accident involved an unattended vehicle or other property, an attempt should be made to locate the owner. If you can't find the owner, then you are required to leave a note visible to the owner giving your name, address and vehicle registration number. Following the note you must immediately notify police of the auto accident. If the owners of all vehicles and property involved are present, all drivers must stop at or near to the scene, without further obstructing traffic any more than is necessary.
Your first responsibility in case of an accident is to find out if there are any injuries. If someone is seriously injured, call 911 for an ambulance, rescue squad, or doctor immediately. In the case of an auto accident you are required to aid the injured person by attempting to arrange treatment or transportation to a doctor or hospital. In the case of an auto accident you should never attempt to provide treatment yourself unless you are trained in first aid, because you may make the injury worse.
The next thing to do in the case of an auto accident is to leave the cars where they came to rest, unless they are blocking traffic. While it is important to protect the accident scene, obstructing traffic can delay the arrival of police or emergency vehicles or even cause another accident.
Accidents that do not involve injury or death to any person and damages that do not exceed $500.00 require no police notification. All other accidents must be reported to the police.
Written reports of accidents have to be made to the Division of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles within 10 days after an accident resulting in bodily injury to or death of any person or damage to any vehicle or other property of an apparent amount of at least $500.00 unless an investigating police officer has made a written report having been notified of such accident.
In the case of an auto accident you are required to provide your name, address, and vehicle registration number, and to let the other driver see your license, and vice versa. It's important to always ask to see a driver's license, and copy down the number as well as his name and address. You are also required to provide the investigating officer with information needed to determine the accident's cause. The statements you make to the officer alone to assist the investigation are privileged and they cannot be used against you in court.
With the exception of your exchange of required information, you should not comment on the cause of the auto accident. Never admit you were wrong or careless. While you may have been wrong or careless those remarks could turn out to be costly. If it was a serious auto accident, you should consult a lawyer before talking to anyone else regarding the accident.
As with any prospective law case, you will need witnesses in the case of an auto accident. While still at the scene, try and get the all the names and addresses of every witnesses you can, and also try and get them to write down or at least tell you what they saw.
Now you know what to do in the case of an auto accident, so after you have assisted the injured, obtained identification from the other driver, provided your own name, address and identification, retrieved the names of witnesses, studied the scene so that you know what happened to cause the accident, and assisted the investigating officer, you are free to go. Of course, you should always ask for the officer's permission to leave the scene just to be sure.
In case of an auto accident, you should always see a doctor afterwards. Serious injuries do not always show immediate symptoms. It's better to be safe and have your doctor examine you even if you are uncertain if you sustained an injury. The next step is contacting an attorney, because no matter what side of fault you are on, an attorney will know the ins and outs of auto accident laws.
If you have any questions about your legal rights regarding an injury caused by an auto defect, please contact us.