Legal Tips for When You Are the Driver and a Motor Vehicle Accident Occurs

Jeffrey Alan Lustick

Written by  Pro

Criminal Defense Attorney

Contributor Level 14

Posted almost 5 years ago. 12 helpful votes

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(1) Make Sure You Are Safe.

-Is the vehicle stopped or parked in a safe place? -Is the vehicle stabilized or at risk of catching fire or exploding? -Are you and your passengers in deed of medical attention? If someone is injured, BY LAW you must render aid to the best of your ability to any injured party. -If another vehicle is involved, are the individuals in the other car in need of medical attention? -Take a deep breath and remain focused and calm. Do not act angrily or belligerent in any way to any other party involved in the accident.

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(2) Report the Matter to the Police by dialing 9-1-1.

-Any collisions with any pedestrian, stationary objects or other cars should ALWAYS be reported to 9-1-1. - Never let anyone talk you out of reporting the matter to the police. Do not accept money or anything of value at the accident scene in exchange for not reporting the accident to authorities. -Give your name, phone number, and exact location to 9-1-1. Also, report all injuries to 9-1-1. -Be aware that sometimes reporting the accident to 9-1-1 may not immediately result in police or aid coming to the accident scene. Tell 9-1-1 specifically if you want police or aid to come and ask them if police or aid is being sent. -The failure to report motor vehicle accidents can be, under some circumstances, a crime.

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(3) Be prepared to exchange information.

-In a motor vehicle accident, BY LAW you must provide your name, mailing address, driver's license, insurance company name, policy number, and vehicle license plate number to any of the other affected drivers or pedestrians involved in the accident. -Do not be afraid to ask others involved for this information. -The failure to comply with these legal requirements can result in a felony or misdemeanor criminal offense.

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(4) Take good notes to document things for yourself.

- Be proactive and document the things that will be helpful to you later on. Remember, the police may be delayed in getting there or may not even come at all. Your notes may be the only record of what happened and who was involved. -Try to determine all of the accident details, beginning with identification of the other party, the other party's vehicle, the time and location of the incident. -Do not rely on your memory or anyone else's memory. Rather, WRITE down what you learn on paper. -Take photos with a digital camera before vehicle are moved or driven away. Take photos documenting license plate numbers and vehicle makes and models. -You cell phone may be available to take these simple photos.

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(5) Be very careful when discussing the accident.

-You are NOT required to make a statement at the accident scene as to how the accident was caused. -Do not make any statements if you are injured or under emotional stress from the accident. -Do not talk to anyone about the accident other than your attorney, your insurance company, and the police. -Do not talk to a representative of another insurance company under any circumstances, without the knowledge of your attorney or your insurance company. -If representatives from another insurance company should call you, be polite, but ask them to call your attorney or insurance company to arrange for an interview. -Also, get the representative's name and number, and tell your insurance company or attorney that someone seeking information about your accident contacted you.

Additional Resources

For further information, contact your motor vehicle insurance agent or your personal attorney.

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