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What Should I Do at the Scene of a Car Accident?

Guest Author: Larry Reaves

Car and truck accidents create confusing and chaotic scenes. Knowing what to do at an accident scene can help protect your rights after the accident. Here are some general guidelines to follow at an accident scene
Do I Have to Stop?
The quick answer is yes. Any driver involved in an accident must stop immediately if a person is injured or killed or if an attended vehicle or other attended property is damaged. As soon as you are in an accident, try to stop as close to the scene of the accident as possible without putting yourself or somebody else in danger (assuming your vehicle is still capable of driving) and activate your emergency lights. As soon as you are sure that you are stopped and out of immediate danger, call the local or state police and report your location, along with any other information they request such as name, address, license number, and vehicle registration number.
What Should I Tell the Investigating Police Officer About the Accident?
Answer whatever questions the officer asks about the accident as truthfully as possible. Do not try to put any kind of personal spin on the events, however, and do not admit fault. Be sure to give the officer your contact information as they may have questions for you later. Failure to do any of these things can result in your being charged with a felony or misdemeanor later, depending on the circumstances.
Should I Take Photographs of the Vehicles and the Accident Scene?
If you can physically take photos of the vehicles and the scene without putting yourself in danger than it is certainly advantageous to do so as those photos may be used by a lawyer later if you decide to make a claim against one or more of the other drivers involved in the accident. If your vehicle has sustained substantial damage, make sure to take the photographs before it is repaired or destroyed. Scene photos can also be very important, so try to get any photos of the scene of the accident before debris, skid marks, or the appearance of the scene are changed or cleaned. Again, be safe when taking these photos.
What If I Am Injured in the Accident?
When the police officer arrives on the scene tell them immediately that you are injured and describe your injuries to them. If emergency vehicles are called, allow them to examine you, and go to the hospital if they recommend it. Even if you do not go to the hospital with emergency personnel, if you feel injured later, have somebody take you to the hospital or your personal doctor as soon after the accident as possible.
What If I've hit an Unattended Vehicle?
You must make a reasonable effort to find the owner of the vehicle or other property and give this person your name, address, driver's license number, and vehicle registration number. If you cannot find the owner of the vehicle, you are required to leave a note with that information in a place that will easily be found by them at a later date. Even after you have left a note, you are still required to notify local law enforcement of the incident within 24 hours in writing unless injuries you have sustained prevent you from doing so. Failure to do so can also result in charges being filed against you.
Do I Need a Lawyer?
If you were injured and believe you were not at fault in causing the accident, you may need a personal injury lawyer to investigate and help determine whether or not you have a case of negligence against one or more of the other drivers. If you do, you may want to engage the lawyer to pursue your legal claims against the negligent driver(s). Having an attorney review your case, even if you do not plan on bringing a case against the other driver(s) is a good idea to ensure that you are not putting yourself at a disadvantage.

Article Source: http://www.articlesbase.com/law-articles/what-should-i-do-at-the-scene-of-a-car-accident-1109350.html

About the Author:
Lawrence Reaves is a freelance writer. Allen, Allen, Allen and Allen are  Virginia car accident lawyers  specializing in  personal injury  and medical malpractice lawsuits. They have offices located throughout central Virginia. Contact them online at  http://www.allenandallen.com  or by phone at 1-866-388-1307.

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