Car accidents are traumatic experiences that can rattle any experienced driver. Stress and shock can impair anyone’s judgment, but that does not excuse North Carolina residents from doing their part in a dangerous situation.
North Carolina expects a few things from drivers involved in a car accident. Keeping these guidelines saved can help prevent excessive fines or even criminal charges.
Take these steps following an accident
Drivers who follow these steps will protect themselves from unnecessary legal action while collecting the information an insurance company needs to recover damages.
- Do not leave: Never leave the scene of the accident until instructed by police or emergency personnel. Leaving the scene early could potentially result in a hit-and-run charge and compromise any insurance claims.
- Help the injured: If any drivers or passengers suffered injuries, call 911 immediately. Anyone who can render aid should attempt to do so.
- Call police: If the accident resulted in injury, death or over $1,000 of property damage, drivers must file a report with the police.
- Exchange insurance information with other drivers: To file a claim with an insurance company and potentially collect damages, drivers must exchange insurance information with each other. Make sure to collect names, contact information, driver’s license number, vehicle identification number, and insurance policy information. Do not speak about the accident or apologize in any way. Other drivers, and their insurance companies, may see this as admitting fault in the accident.
- Take photos and videos: Insurance adjusters can make better decisions involving liability with proper evidence of the crash. Take as many pictures and videos as possible and write down important details like officer badge numbers.
- Call the insurance company: Drivers must carry minimum insurance coverage in North Carolina. After an accident, call the insurance carrier and report the accident.
Seek legal protection
Drivers involved in an accident have found success working with a local attorney familiar with motor vehicle law. A lawyer can help assess a liability claim, manage hefty insurance paperwork and communicate with law enforcement.