Even the best drivers in North Carolina fumble when they get into their first accident. Whether you are at fault for the accident or not, you may be in shock. If you do not know how to react, the shock could cause you to make mistakes that may either worsen your injuries or reduce your chances of getting compensation.
According to the North Carolina Bar Association, the first step is to stop. This may sound like an obvious recommendation but you might be surprised to learn how many drivers just keep going. Some of these are bad people who think of no one but themselves. Others are so in shock that they simply do not react.
When you pull over, try not to obstruct traffic. Warning signals, such as your hazard lights, might also help to keep you and other motorists safe. Verify if you or your passengers are injured. Then, assist any injured parties if there are any. Note that the occupants of the other vehicle may be injured and need help.
If there is personal injury, death or property damage, you are required by law to call the police immediately. If there are witnesses, get their information so they can confirm what happened. If you were not at fault, make this your primary responsibility. The other driver may not be keen on helping to gather the information that may incriminate them. You are a witness yourself, so take photos and make notes.
When the police arrive, cooperate with the officers. Before either party leaves the scene, also ensure that you exchange information. Note that unless you are seriously injured, remain at the scene until following the steps above and filling out a form to detail the accident information. You should then visit a doctor to confirm that you have no injuries or treat those you may have. Be sure to also notify your insurance company of the accident.
This article shares information from the North Carolina Bar Association on what to do if you have an accident. Visit their website for more detailed information. This article should not be used as or in place of legal or insurance advice.