Auto accidents though unfortunate are pretty common. It is often opined that the term accident is not quite appropriate as over ninety percent of auto accidents are caused by negligence on the part of the drivers. Severity of the auto accidents determine the legal consequences that are to follow subsequently. All the common law jurisdictions impose some sort of requirement that the parties involved in any collision/accident must stop at the scene even though the collision may involve only stationary property. The parties concerned are to stop at the scene and exchange insurance or identification information or summon the police. The failure to comply with such requirements leads to the incident being termed as hit and run and is a criminal offense.
It may be noted that most car claims are settled without involving an attorney. The parties involved in an auto accident can be facing criminal liability or civil liability or even both. The state may also start a prosecution in certain cases like when someone is severely injured or killed or when one of the drivers involved has been proved beyond doubt to be grossly negligent or intoxicated or impaired otherwise during the occurrence of the auto accident.
The right course of action in keeping with legal safeguards should be-
o Staying at the scene of auto accident until the police confirms that you can leave the scene. Leaving the scene of an accident beforehand may affect the driver’s license sanctions and even lead to criminal charges being framed.
o If some person(s) have become injured as a result of the auto accident then you may try and help if you are trained in administering first aid. However, the injured person must not be moved and the police are to be called up and the accident reported together with mention of the number of people injured. This will help provide enough emergency personnel to be attending to the scene. In case the accident takes place on the roadway then the flashers are to be turned on or flares used for warning approaching traffic of the accident.
Important information including the other driver’s name and other details are to be taken down together with details of witnesses, police officers (for facilitating procuring of accident report), location of place of accident and events leading to the auto accident. You ought to be careful not to admit fault or liability as there may be factors you are unaware of that have led to the accident being caused. It may become quite evident that the other driver/other person concerned were actually more at fault.
It is to be remembered that it is unnecessary to make statements to any person at the auto accident scene. Statements are to be made only to the police. Simply relating the facts to the police will be enough as they can draw their own conclusions from the facts that become apparent.
It is crucial to seek medical care and attention as soon as possible. In certain states of the US like Michigan there is the no fault insurance law that covers medical treatment necessitated by an automobile or auto accident and it is important that you immediately obtain medical care from doctors for otherwise you may not be able to obtain ‘no fault’ benefits for your injuries.