Accidents Happen: What Drivers Need To Know
If you are involved in a car accident you must stop your vehicle and inspect the damage, regardless of who is at fault. If you fail to stop, you can be charged with a criminal offense, known as a hit and run. There are other things you should know about car accidents, so you can avoid legal problems in the future.
Always Stop And Report
Anytime you are involved in a car accident, no matter how minor, you must stop. Failure to do can result in you spending time in jail and getting your drives license suspended. Even if no one is injured, or damage to the vehicles is minor, you must stop so that you and the other driver can handle the situation. You can do this yourselves or call the police. Keep in mind that most insurance companies require you to fill out a police report before paying any claims.
State requirements concerning accident reports can vary as well. All states generally require an accident report in the case of injury or death, so you need to know under what circumstances your state requires that you fill out an accident report.
If you hit a parked car, you still are legally required to stop and inspect the damage. After you stop, you are required to make a reasonable effort to locate the other car owner. If you cannot, you must leave your name, phone number and address on the car you hit and notify the police that you hit a parked car.
Be Careful Who You Talk To
When the police arrive, it is important to take the time an answer all questions honestly. If you can, get the names and phone numbers of any witnesses. Don't discuss the accident with them, as this can hurt your case if you decide to file a lawsuit later. The witness may also be asked by the other party what was said at the accident scene, which depending on what you said, may be used against you.
Before leaving the scene of the accident, make some notes about your accident while your memories are still fresh. Consider drawing a diagram of the accident that describes the street, the weather conditions, and any other factors you think are important. This information can be helpful to you whether you file a lawsuit or one if filed against you.
It is important to do your part when involved in an accident failure to do so can result in legal troubles for you. Anytime you have legal questions concerning an accident, contact an attorney for advice, and never sign any insurance forms related to your accident until you have consulted an attorney first.