Disclaimer: This article aims to provide simple tips on what to do when involved in an auto accident. It is still best to consult with a legal professional for further details.
Getting involved in an auto accident is both a hassle and a problem. It is a problem because it involves having to sustain injuries when the impact is too great. It is a hassle because it involves lawyers, the other party and a lot of documentation.
Several lawsuits arise from a car accident. Whether you are the victim or the defendant, you still need to address the issues to avoid getting a lawsuit. There are many tips one should know in a legal sense if you had an auto accident. The defendant as well as the plaintiff will have pointers they need to know so they can settle the issue amicably.
Basic Fault Levels
The common law observes four different levels of fault when it comes to determining the fault, which caused the accident. These levels are:
- Negligence. The carelessness of a person caused damage or harm to another person, property or circumstance.
- Recklessness. This level of fault shows that the person knows his or her action can lead to harm to him or her, as well as others.
- Intentional Misconduct. This indicates a wrongful action that caused harm or danger to another person.
- Strict Liability. This imposes that someone is being held liable because of the damages that happened to another party.
Auto accidents may fall in these levels, depending on the circumstances and events.
Tips on What to Do in an Auto Accident
When involved in an auto accident, it is important to keep your cool. Getting angered by the situation will not help you. Take these necessary steps whenever you find yourself in a car accident:
- Stay in the scene. Do not move your car out of the scene. Even if you are blocking parts of the road, never remove your car from its place. It is best to wait for the police as well as your attorney before you move your vehicle.
- Be polite. Never do the blame game. Regardless of whoever caused the accident, it is important to avoid blaming the other party. This does not only add fuel to the fire, but it also prevents both parties from being reasonable. Therefore, the first step you have to do is be polite and assess the situation in a professional manner.
- Assess your surroundings. Check for any injured persons around you. If there are severe injuries, seek emergency help right away. If there are no other parties injured, you should contact the police. You will have to file for a police report during this kind of situation.
- Take pictures. Nowadays, most vehicles have dashcams installed on their dashboards. This makes it easier for investigating parties to determine who is at fault. However, it is also advisable to do your own documentation. Take pictures of the scene from various angles. This may also help in showing investigators different views of what may have happened.
- Contact your lawyer. Do not approach and talk to the other party without the presence of your lawyer. Always discuss the situation with your lawyer in order for him or her to give proper legal advice on how to go about the situation. This is particularly important if you’re at risk of being charged for drunk driving, and you should contact a DUI attorney as soon as possible.
- Exchange information. Once you have discussed everything with your lawyer, it is best to exchange information such as contact details with the other party involved. This allows both of you to maintain communication with each other just in case any kind of lawsuit or settlement is filed.
After the Auto Accident
Once you have taken the steps above, you have to prepare just in case a lawsuit ensues. Some of the steps you can do after the accident are:
- Talk with your insurance company. Discuss the details of the accident with your insurance provider. Ask if they will cover for the expenses regarding the case. This way, you will not be surprised at the possible costs needed for the auto accident.
- Check all medical expenses. Check all the medical expenses you incurred for treatment needed because of the accident. You have to discuss this record with your insurance provider as well as your attorney.
- Be aware. Make sure you are aware of everything about the accident. It is also important to watch everything you say and do so the other party will not be able to use them against you. Never discuss sensitive issues with other people who are not part of your legal team.
- Review settlements. If there are settlements offered from the other party or their insurance company, it is advisable to review them before accepting. Keep in mind that settlement amount should cover for all the expenses you incurred. This includes the damages for car repair and medical expenses.
Being involved in an auto accident is both a literal and figurative headache. You’ll need to be mindful when dealing with authorities, the other party, your lawyer, and your insurance company. Hopefully these tips presented above will provide you with some considerations as to how to most effectively handle the legal situation should you ever find yourself in an auto accident.
Pauline Griggs is an experienced law and automotive writer currently writing on another large project. Her know-how on the law for more than 10 years has allowed her to insert nuggets of useful wisdom for her readers. Pauline is not just a lawyer, she is also an artist. She loves painting nature when she has free time.