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Legal Obligations After a Car Accident

June 1, 2023 General

Car accidents can be a traumatic experience, and it can be challenging to know what to do in the aftermath. You may be asking yourself “What am I legally obligated to do after a car accident?” As a driver, you have certain legal obligations that you must fulfill after a car accident.

Here’s a guide from Siniard Law on what you need to do after a car accident to protect your rights.

Seek Medical Attention and Ensure Safety After a Car Accident

After an accident, it’s crucial to seek medical attention, even if you do not feel injured. In some cases, injuries may not be apparent immediately due to adrenaline, and it’s essential to get a professional medical evaluation to document any injuries that may have resulted from the accident.

If you think you are injured, do not move, if it is safe to stay where you are. Wait for medical professionals to come and assess you to ensure
moving will not cause further harm to you.

Additionally, ensure that you are safe. Remove yourself and your vehicle from the roadway if possible to avoid further danger from traffic. Ensure you move to the safest location until police or medical professionals arrive if your vehicle is unsafe.

Call the Police

In most cases, you are required to call the police after a car accident. The police will come to the scene of the accident, make a report, and document any injuries or damages. This report can be critical in helping you file an insurance claim or pursue legal action if necessary.

Ask the police for the report number and document that to assist in talking with your insurance company later. If there is a problem with the report
see this blog about What to Do If an Accident Report is Wrong.

Do Not Admit Fault After a Car Accident

If you feel you may have been partially at fault in the accident, you should avoid apologizing or admitting fault because such statements could adversely impact your future claim on the accident. There is no legal requirement that you admit anything to anyone indicating which party was at fault.

Exchange Information

You are also legally obligated to exchange information with the other driver(s) involved in the accident. It’s essential to document this information to assist in filing an insurance claim.

This includes:
– Names of everyone involved
– Contact information
– Insurance information
– Vehicle registration numbers

Take Photos and Gather Evidence

Take photos of the accident scene, including any damage to the vehicles and the surrounding area. Collect witness statements and any other evidence that may be relevant to your case. Examples include:

– The scene of the accident, including the position of the vehicles, debris on the roadway, and skid marks.

– The damage to your vehicle, as well as the damage to any other vehicles involved in the accident.

– The license plates of all vehicles involved in the accident.

– The location and severity of any visible injuries sustained by you or any passengers in your vehicle.

– The road conditions, such as weather and lighting at the time of the accident.

– Any road signs or traffic signals that may have been relevant to the accident.

– Any property damage, such as damage to a fence or building, caused by the accident.

– The contact information of any witnesses to the accident.

– Any relevant insurance documents, including proof of insurance for all drivers involved in the accident.

– The police report number, if applicable, as well as the names and badge numbers of the responding officers.

Notify Your Insurance Company

You should notify your insurance company as soon as possible after a car accident. However, it is important to understand that you could be an adversary of your own insurance company if the person who caused the accident does not have liability insurance or does not have enough liability insurance to cover your damages.

If that is the case, you may need to make an uninsured/underinsured motorist claim with your own insurance.  If this is necessary, your own insurance company will want to minimize or deny your claim.  Therefore, it is important to not admit fault to your insurance company or to say things that minimize your injuries.

Read our blog post about Uninsured Drivers and How to Protect Yourself to understand the importance of uninsured/underinsured motorist claims.

Consult with a Personal Injury Lawyer After a Car Accident

If you have been injured in a car accident, it is crucial to consult with a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible. A lawyer can help you understand your legal rights, assist in negotiating with insurance companies, and pursue legal action if necessary.

See this Complete Guide to Car Accident Injury Claims to learn more about hiring a personal injury lawyer. Experienced professionals at Siniard Law can assist you through this difficult time to ensure you are represented fairly and supported.

Car accidents can be overwhelming, but it’s essential to understand your legal obligations to protect your rights. By following the steps outlined above, you can ensure that you fulfill your legal obligations and gather the necessary evidence to support your case.

If you have been injured in a car accident, contact Siniard Law today for legal assistance and support.