Motor vehicle accidents, even at lower speeds, can be scary. It can leave you shaken, unsure of where to go or what to do next. You might even find yourself in a panic with uncertainty floating around you. In any accident, it essential that you first check on everyone involved and see if anyone is seriously injured. You must also contact 9-1-1 if there are critical injuries. Once you have checked on everyone, you need to follow individual steps to protect yourself and any passengers in your car at the time.
The rules for car accidents have changed over the years. Not only has legislature slowly caught up with technology, but most drivers today have modern vehicles with driver monitoring systems and smartphones at their disposal. Therefore, how you act after your accident today might be different than how you would have reacted even five years ago.
Know Your Obligations at the Scene – Louisville Laws for Those in Accidents
After an accident, you have one primary obligation: do not leave the scene of the crash. The only time you can legally leave without facing criminal charges is if you are taken away by emergency personnel. Otherwise, you must remain at the scene until law enforcement can arrive and assess the situation.
If there are no serious injuries, contact your local police department and report the accident. You are required by law to report the accident and allow law enforcement to file a police report on the incident. You and the other driver will be required to make a statement, and you must cooperate at the scene with any investigation.
Do You Need to Call the Police for Minor Accidents?
The police must be at the scene of an accident if any of the following applies:
- Anyone suffers injury
- Damage to private or public property (excluding the vehicles) is present
- Damage is more than $1,000 in cost
- One driver appears to be intoxicated or was speeding at the time
Remain at the scene until officers arrive. When asked questions, be honest and polite – regardless of how long the process might take. If you need medical assistance, let law enforcement officers know that you would like to be seen by a doctor.
If officers are not dispatched to the scene, they will give you instructions on how to proceed and what you can do next.
Handling Injuries at the Scene
Call for medical assistance if you or anyone involved is injured. Do not move anyone injured at the accident scene, because doing so might worsen their injuries. You can administer first aid to the best of your abilities, but still, wait for medical personnel to arrive.
Secure the Scene
Do your best to move your vehicle out of the way of oncoming traffic. If your car is inoperable, do not stand by the vehicle while it is in the middle of the road. Instead, move somewhere out of traffic. Do not attempt to cross in front of busy highway traffic.
Use Your Smartphone to Collect Information and Evidence
Most drivers today will be carrying a smartphone. This means you have a valuable investigative tool that you can use to collect evidence.
Use your smartphone to capture photographs of the accident scene. Make sure you get pictures of the vehicles and their placement, damage to your vehicle and the other vehicle, injuries you see at the scene, the area surrounding the accident, and the road condition.
You can also use your smartphone to record witness contact information. Send yourself an email with that contact information from your phone. This is an extra precaution so that if your phone is lost, you have a backup of the witness’ contact information to give to your attorney.
Do Not Apologize
It is human nature to apologize, even when you are not at fault for the accident. Despite the urge to apologize, do not say you are “sorry” or admit to anything at the accident scene. Admitting responsibility or even apologizing can be used as an admission of guilt. This might make it harder to collect compensation later – even if you were not at-fault for the accident.
After the Accident – Fulfil Your Duties
You have obligations after the accident. One of the more important duties is reporting the accident to your insurance company as quickly as possible. Most insurance policies have clauses stating that if you do not report the incident within so many days, you cannot receive compensation from your insurance company.
Once you report the accident, your insurer will conduct their investigation into who might be at-fault for the incident. Also, your insurer will work with the other party’s insurance company to reach a settlement and handle any injury claims.
While your insurance company is representing you, it is still important to consult with an attorney for serious accidents. Insurance companies want to resolve accident claims quickly because they need to protect their bottom line – and that bottom line is not always what is in your best interest.
Speak with an Accident Attorney in Louisville
After a severe automobile accident, you may have injuries that keep you from working, incur hundreds to thousands of dollars in medical costs, and leave you with little option for recourse. Instead of trying to negotiate with insurance companies to get a settlement, speak with Gladstein Law Firm, PLLC. Attorney Seth Gladstein is here to advocate for your right to compensation, and he will negotiate with insurance companies to help you receive payment for medical costs, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
Schedule a free consultation now at 502-855-4177 or request more information online.