North Carolina requires drivers to follow certain steps after a motor vehicle accident. However, the stressful aftermath of a collision can make it difficult to remember what you need to do.
If you or a loved one have been injured in a motor vehicle crash, a Durham car accident lawyer can ensure your rights are protected and that you receive full compensation for your damages. In the meantime, keep reading to learn what you should do immediately after a collision.
What to do after a car crash that’s not your fault
Here are the most basic steps to take after your collision.
1. Pull over and check for injuries
Pull your vehicle off the roadway and park it in a safe location to avoid blocking traffic flow and ensure your vehicle does not receive any further damage. Assess your passengers and others who may have been involved in the crash, checking for any visible injuries. Call 911 immediately.
2. Wait for a police officer to gather information for a police report
After ensuring everyone is safe, it is time to collect as much information as possible. The best way is to call 911 and ask a police officer to come to the scene. The police officer or other law enforcement will collect critical information. This information is critical for your attorney to communicate with the other party and their insurance company properly. The police officer should gather the following contact information from the other driver:
- Full name
- Phone number
- Motor vehicle insurance information
- Driver’s license
- License plate number
You should also ensure the police officer gathers information from anyone who witnessed the crash. Write down their name and phone number and request they record their statement using your phone if they cannot stay to speak with the police.
3. Collect evidence at the scene
Evidence collection is crucial after a crash. Your attorney will use the photos and video you take immediately following the crash to build a powerful case on your behalf. You should document the following information:
- Visible injuries of anyone involved
- Position of the vehicles before they are moved (if it is safe to do so)
- Damage to the vehicles
- Skidmarks caused during the crash
- The weather and current road conditions
- Photos of injuries days after the crash
4. Do not admit fault
This step is critical because anything you say can jeopardize your case. It is natural to want to comfort the other driver but never assume fault or apologize for the crash, as pure contributory negligence laws could devastate your case. You should never claim to have no injuries because after a crash, your adrenaline is running, and you may not feel injuries until the next day or so.
5. Seek medical attention
Even if you feel you have not been injured in the accident, you should seek a medical evaluation. Some types of internal bleeding or traumatic brain injuries are not immediately apparent and require an evaluation by a trained medical professional. The report your doctor makes also provides important evidence of the catastrophic injuries you sustained from the crash. If your doctor does find injuries, you must follow their recommendations and follow up with your doctor promptly.
6. Stay off social media
It is normal to want to tell family and friends that you have been involved in a crash, especially if you have been injured. While there is little danger in doing this, sharing on social media is not recommended. Even if you believe your account is set to private, your social media page can be discoverable. Anything you say on your social media could be used against you. You should never post comments or photos on any social media pages that involve the accident.
7. Contact a North Carolina car accident lawyer
It is crucial for your case that you speak with an attorney before accepting a settlement from the insurance company. You should never sign anything before your attorney has had time to review the document thoroughly.
The insurance company wants to limit its liability and will likely pressure you to settle the claim quickly. This is a common tactic they will use. If you receive a settlement offer quickly, have an experienced personal injury lawyer review the offer. They will advise you if the offer is fair or if you should fight for higher compensation.
Our personal injury law firm is ready to fight for you
If you have suffered injuries or damages from a motor vehicle accident, the experienced Durham injury lawyers with Johnson & Groninger PLLC are ready to help protect your legal rights and seek the compensation you deserve.
Contact us today using our secure online form to schedule your free consultation, or you can contact us by phone and call our Durham office at (919) 240-4054 or our Charlotte office at (704) 200-2009.