Car Accidents Happen (Part 1) – What to Do When They Happen to You

Car accidents are unpleasant, but happen every day. This is Part 1 of a 3-Part Series, and will inform you of the steps you need to take immediately after a car accident occurs. Part 2 will address what to do after you leave the scene of an accident, focusing largely on receiving medical care. Finally, Part 3 will address reasons not to talk to the other driver's insurance company.

The North Carolina DMV has an accident guide on their website about what to do if you are in an accident. Some of these suggestions include:
– Not leaving after an accident
– Removing vehicles from the road when possible
– Assist anyone who is injured
– Exchanging information with others involved in the accident
– Name, Address, Drivers' License Number, Vehicle Registration Number, and Insurance Provider

Other Things You Should Do
Get Contact Information for Witnesses
One of the most important things to do after an accident occurs is the get the contact information for any witnesses who may have seen what happened. Especially in cases where the credibility of the parties is a major issue (such as intersection accidents), having a witness you can contact can make your case stronger. However, you should never rely on the investigating officer to gather this information – many witnesses leave before the officer even arrives. In some cases, the insurance company may change their denial of a claim to an acceptance to pay out if you produce the contact information of a witness.

Make a Police Report
The law in North Carolina requires individuals involved in accidents to make police reports if there are any injuries, fatalities, or if the property damage exceeds $ 1000. Not filing a police report could result in a suspended license. When you make a police report, be helpful and provide as much information about the facts of the accident. You can obtain a copy of your accident report by filling out a crash report form. It is important to limit your opinions about the accident since those opinions could have been used against you later. Always remember, you can talk to a lawyer before making a statement about an accident.

File a Report with your Insurance Carrier
You should also make a report to your insurance carrier about any accident you are in. While you are still at the sight of an accident, remember to take pictures of the scene, and also take pictures of any injuries you may have suffered. This will not only help with providing your insurance carrier as much relevant information as possible, but it will also allow you to preserve important evidence should you decide to take legal action.