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What should I do after an accident?

It is not every day that a North Carolinian gets in a car wreck. Yet, when you do find yourself in an accident, the scenario may be so out of the ordinary and unfamiliar that you do not even know what to do. Taking the appropriate steps after a car crash can help not only ensure everyone's safety, but also that important information is gathered, which may be pertinent to recovering compensation down the road.

First of all, if you are in an accident, do not leave the scene. You could face criminal charges if you do leave the scene. Second, check on everyone involved in the accident to ensure they are okay. You should call 9-1-1 if injuries have been suffered. Third, call the police if the accident caused damage or injuries. When they arrive, ask that they file a police report, which will document the incident. Fourth, it is imperative to exchange information with other parties to the accident. Names, addressed, contact information, license plate numbers, and insurance information can all be critical to ensuring the matter is handled correctly. Failing to do this could result in your inability to recover compensation from insurance companies and/or negligent drivers.

It is important to note that you should not, under any circumstances, admit that the wreck was your fault. If you say that you ran a stop sign, for example, you are admitting legal liability, and you might find yourself being sued for damages.

Also, be sure to talk to witnesses and obtain their contact information. This may be critical in the event that the matter goes to litigation. You should also contact your insurance company to make them aware of the incident, take pictures of any damage, and keep track of your medical expenses if you have any. If you follow these steps, you should have the information you need to pursue compensation from an insurance company or through a personal injury lawsuit.

Source: FindLaw, "After a Car Accident: First Steps" accessed on Dec. 28, 2014

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