Involvement in a car accident can be very frightening. Knowing what to do before an accident can help you ensure that you get all of the right information to help with your legal claim down the road. You can use the following tips and information as a roadmap for what you should be doing after an accident, especially when it is not your fault.
Who Should You Call?
It’s a good idea to make a few phone calls after you are involved in an accident. These include:
- Emergency medical services: If you need medical care, you should get it right away. Do not be afraid to make the call to 911 to get an ambulance on the scene. If you are unsure if you or anyone involved in the accident needs medical care, err on the side of caution and contact a medical professional.
- The police or sheriff: It is also a good idea to call the police so they can make a report about your accident. You are required to report most accidents in North Carolina, so getting the police involved is not only a good idea but may also be legally required in most situations.
- Your insurance company: You should also make a call to your own insurance company after a collision. You may not need to do this right away, but generally, the sooner you make this call, the better. Even though North Carolina is an at-fault state, and the other driver is required to reimburse you for your injuries and losses, your own insurance company may become involved if the other driver does not have insurance. Many insurance companies have timelines that you must follow to file a claim, so acting quickly is critical.
- A car accident attorney: Although you do not need to make this call immediately, involving a car accident lawyer soon after your accident can be helpful so that you can investigate the accident properly. In fact, the sooner you engage a lawyer, the more likely you are to get a favorable result in your legal case.
Of course, you may also want to call spouses, children, or other loved ones to let them know about the accident and how you are doing as soon as possible.
Proving Fault in a North Carolina Car Accident
As a victim of an auto accident, you must show that the other driver was at fault and that you should be awarded money to account for your damages. Unfortunately, these requirements can be a difficult burden for victims, but an experienced car accident attorney can help you through this process.
You are required to present facts that show:
- The other driver had a duty to you
- That duty was violated
- The violation caused the accident
- You were hurt as a result of the collision
When driving, every driver has a duty to other drivers to drive in a way that is safe and does not put those around them at risk. As a result, in car accident cases, most of the facts you need to show will center around how the other driver harmed you and what caused your injuries.
The Role of the Insurance Company in Your Car Accident Case
North Carolina is a fault state. That means that the driver who is at fault must pay the other driver that they injured. However, getting the other driver to pay for your medical expenses and other losses will usually mean that you have to deal with their insurance company.
The other driver should report the accident to their insurance company right away. When an insurance company knows that their insured is at fault, they will likely reach out to you within a few days or weeks after the accident to get your statement about what happened.
You can provide the insurance company with general information about the collision, such as when and where the crash occurred, but it is not a good idea to talk to the insurance company without your lawyer present. Saying the wrong thing to the insurance company at this point could completely undermine your case.
Unfortunately, insurance companies sometimes try to get you to admit fault or trick you into saying something that you did not mean. Having an attorney available when you talk to the insurance company significantly decreases the chances that an insurance company will try some of these more underhanded methods.
Contact a North Carolina Car Accident Lawyer
The other driver’s insurance company will likely reach out to you quickly after an accident, especially when the other driver is at fault. It is important that you react quickly as well. Contact a North Carolina car accident lawyer as soon as possible after a crash. Getting a lawyer involved promptly after the collision significantly increases your chances of a favorable outcome. Call today for more information or to schedule an appointment with a member of our team.