When an accident occurs on North Carolina highways, sometimes the drivers involved are so rattled by the collision that they make mistakes that can later come back to haunt them. Below are some things drivers need to do immediately after a crash occurs, as well as things to avoid saying or doing.
-- Remain at the scene of the car accident unless doing so would jeopardize your personal safety, as in cases of "bump and robs," where fender-benders are intentionally caused by criminals in remote locations for the purpose of robbing the other driver. If you feel threatened, lock your doors and proceed to the nearest police station to report the accident.
-- Call 911 to report the accident and get the name and badge number of those officers who respond.
-- Make sure all involved are okay and summon aid for the injured.
-- Exchange information with the other drivers, including name, driver's license number, address, insurance company name and policy number and license plate number. It's a good idea to whip out your smartphone and photograph the final position of the cars and any visible damage.
-- If there are witnesses, either other drivers or passersby who saw the accident, ask them for their names, phone numbers and addresses. Remain polite and don't ever threaten or beg.
-- Contact your insurance company immediately and report the accident. Be truthful in reporting the facts to make sure they will cover the incident.
-- If you are injured, keep track of any medical treatments and appointments related to your injuries. Note dates of all missed work and social and family activities for which your injuries prevent you from participating.
-- Never admit fault at the scene of the accident or to the police who respond. Don't apologize; fault for the wreck may or may not wind up being assigned to you, and even if you are deemed partially at fault, the other driver(s) also may bear some responsibility that reduces your financial and legal liabilities. Let the experts make that determination.
-- The only people with whom you should discuss the accident is your insurance company representative, the police and possibly an attorney hired by you. If other insurance company representatives contact you, ask them to arrange an interview with you through your attorney or insurance company.
Source: FindLaw, "After a Car Accident: First Steps" Aug. 14, 2014