No one wants to be involved in a car accident, but the truth is millions are injured in road accidents every year. In fact, in the United States, more than ninety people die from car accidents every day.
If you’re involved in a car accident and don’t handle some aspects of the incident correctly, you could find yourself in legal trouble.
You Must Stop When You’re Involved in an Accident
If you’re involved in a road accident, you’re legally required to stop. If you don’t, you could receive a fine, penalty points on your license, or a driving ban. You could even receive a jail sentence of up to six months.
The same penalties can be received if you fail to report a car accident within twenty-four hours.
Unless it’s unsafe to do so, you must always stop if someone is injured, you injure or kill certain animals, or you cause damage to property.
To find out more about the legal obligations of being involved in a car accident, get free advice from an experienced law firm. For example, Abels & Annes expertise in personal injury law, including car accident injuries, is unparalleled.
You Must Exchange Certain Details
You are also legally obliged to exchange certain information with the other parties.
If you’re too badly injured to do that at the scene of the accident, contact the police within twenty-four hours and give a law enforcement officer your information.
You must share your name and address, your contact details, your insurance details, your certificate of insurance, and your driving license number.
Remember to get those details from the other driver involved in the accident as well.
You Need to Have Auto Insurance
All states apart from New Hampshire require drivers to have mandatory auto insurance that covers bodily injury liability and property damage liability.
If you’re involved in a car accident in one of those forty-nine states and you don’t have insurance, your license could be suspended and your car could be impounded.
You’ll also have to pay fines and costs to cover any property damage and injuries incurred by others. In some circumstances, you could even serve jail time for being uninsured.
So, if you want to avoid legal trouble from being in a car accident, make sure you have at least the minimum required amount of auto insurance coverage in place.
How to Handle Being Involved in a Car Accident
Now you know your legal obligations of being in a car accident, you need to learn what else you should do after being involved in a road accident.
The first thing to do is remember to stay calm. With a cool head, you can take the correct actions to make sure you and others are safe.
First off, check for injuries. If you, a passenger, or anyone else has an injury, you should call 911 straight away.
If you’re not seriously injured, you should move to a place of safety, but if you’re seriously injured, don’t move. Wait for the emergency services to arrive.
If you’re not badly injured, you should move your car to the side of the road and then check for damage on all vehicles involved in the accident.
Contact law enforcement if 911 hasn’t been called and then exchange details with the other driver. Take photos of the scene and any damage, too, as that can help with insurance claims.
You should then seek medical attention, even if you have no visible injuries, as some injuries can be internal or not show up straight away.
The final steps are to contact your insurance company and an experienced lawyer who can help you determine your rights and options.