In NC, there are roughly 7 million registered vehicles. In a given lifetime, it is likely you will be in an accident with a fellow driver. No matter whose fault or how it happened, it is very important to follow a few simple steps to ensure you are not blamed for or on the hook for someone else’s negligence.
Requirements to operate a Motor Vehicle
NCGS 20-309 requires every driver be insured. This law is a minimum standard and requires only limited coverage. Thus, NCGS makes it a criminal offense for not having proof of insurance. In your glove box, you must always have your insurance information and registration. At the same time, the other vehicle involved in the accident should have these same documents. Upon the time of the accident, it is very important to get registration and insurance information.
Most police officers, provide as a courtesy service, insurance information. Thus, it will be provided for you if the officers are called to the scene. If the officers are not called or unable to come, then write down or take a picture of the insurance information and registration of the other vehicle.
Requirements immediately following the accident
NCGS – 20-166 provides a long list of required steps after an accident. Most of these are enacted to protect drivers and especially the drivers who are safe and following the law. A few of these requirements are stopping after an accident, contacting law enforcement, providing information and return or contact law enforcement if you must leave to get medical treatment. If the other driver does take off, be safe and don’t chase them but get as much information as you can and call 911 to report the crime to police. This rule about staying on scene does allow for exceptions where injuries occur thus, call 911 if you or the other individual is injured or think anyone is injured.
Call the Police – It’s the Law
NCGS 20-166 also requires you call an officer after most accidents. Once they arrive, they will produce an accident report. These reports are not always given on scene but available online.
Admission of Fault of Liability
After any accident, most drivers are at least rattled if not entirely emotionally unstable. Due to this, it is not uncommon for a driver to admit fault to an accident even though the facts would show otherwise. It is very important to not make any statements of liability. Instead trade information as required and take notes of what the other person said and then call your attorney.
As the adage goes, “it is better to be safe than sorry”. After an accident, it is a good idea to go to your doctor to get examined. With soft tissue damage, the injuries do not always immediately present themselves. If later down the road, back, neck, joint or other medical issues arise, a lack of medical documentation will hinder your ability to get cost covered by the party at fault.
Getting in a wreck is a scary and highly emotional event. It is hard to deal with this situation thus, always do your best to drive safe and avoid accidents. Even so, ensure you give a call to your attorney after the accident occurs.