Automobile accidents can happen to anyone. In fact, according to the National Safety Council, 38,300 people were killed on U.S. roads, and 4.4 million were seriously injured in 2015. These statistics don't account for injuries that didn't require medical attention or property damage.
What should you do if you are in an accident? Do you know what steps to take to protect your legal rights and minimize potential liability?
Below are some things you should do, and not do, when you are in an accident:
- Remain at the scene - It is important to not leave the scene of an accident, no matter how minor the crash may seem. In North Carolina, leaving the scene could be considered a hit and run.
- Report the accident - Call 911 to obtain help from law enforcement, emergency medical services and the fire department. Do your best to provide assistance to anyone who has been injured in the crash as you wait for help to arrive.
- Gather information - Write down the names, driver's license numbers, plate numbers and insurance information for everyone involved in the accident. Take photographs of the accident scene and write down any information about traffic, road and weather conditions. Obtain contact information from witnesses.
- Do not admit fault - Don't take responsibility for the accident or agree to pay any damages until you speak to your insurance company and/or a lawyer.
- Contact an attorney - You have the right to obtain legal help with your injury claim. An attorney can help protect your rights and advocate on your behalf with the insurance companies.