Abingdon, Bristol and Johnson City
Everyone makes mistakes. If you get into a car accident and think that you were at fault, it is important to speak and act wisely.
If you are at fault or think you might be, here are some tips to follow.
Watch what you say
First off, don’t automatically admit guilt to anyone—the other driver or drivers, the police, or anyone else involved. Even if you feel certain you are at fault, a full investigation may have different findings. This includes refraining from saying “I’m sorry” or any other similar remark that later can be construed as an admission of guilt or fault. Avoid asking questions of the other driver that may hint at assigning blame, and do not answer if the other driver asks these questions of you.
Instead, limit your interaction with the other driver to asking if anyone was hurt, and making an exchange of contact and insurance information. Be sure to remain polite. If the other driver gets upset, walk away and wait for the police.
Always call the police, no matter what
If you are involved in any accident, even one that appears minor, then you need to call the police. Many states legally require the police to be notified of any car accident with bodily injury or a certain amount of property damage ($500 or $1,000, depending on the state). If you are in an accident and anyone involved is complaining of injury, call the police. If there is visible damage to either car, call the police.
Document the accident
If possible, take as many pictures as you can of the scene of the accident, and any damage to both vehicles. Make sure your pictures of the scene include any skid marks on the road, as well as visible speed limit signs, stop signs, or traffic lights. Gather the names of any passengers in the other vehicle or vehicles. If anyone witnessed the accident, try to get his or her name and contact information, assuming he or she is willing to reveal that information.
Before the police arrive, go back over the accident in your mind. This will help you give an honest, accurate recounting of your side of the crash.
Call your insurance company
In addition to calling the police, make it a priority to call your insurance company—doing so at least within the first 24 hours following the accident. Every automobile insurance policy requires the insured party cooperate with the insurance company. Failing to may lead to a denial of your coverage for any damage or injuries sustained in the crash.
Complete necessary paperwork
Many states also require the filing of an accident report for any car wreck that results in bodily injury or causes a certain amount of property damage. This report must be filled out and filed within a certain period of time following the accident. Your insurance company or the police should be able to tell you whether such a report is required and, if so, where it needs to be filed.
Following these steps helps protect you, your rights, and your assets. Once you have called the police and your insurance company, call the Law Offices of Michael R. Munsey. Having an experienced attorney in auto accident law in your corner can be one of the most valuable tools at your disposal. Ready to have us fight for you? Call us at (276) 451-2056 to schedule a consultation at our office in Johnson City, TN.
The Law Offices of Michael R. Munsey are proud to serve clients in Bristol, Kingsport and Johnson City, TN, as well as Abingdon, VA.