Auto accidents come in many forms, from minor fender benders to catastrophic multi-car pileups. No matter what type of accident you are in, regardless of who is at fault, it’s important to understand your legal rights and responsibilities as it relates to traffic violations or accidents.
After an accident you may be forced to deal with medical issues, insurance claims, lawsuits, citations and even potential criminal charges. Your LegalShield provider law firm can help you understand your rights and legal options. If you are in an accident call your provider firm right away.
1. Safety First
Pull safely to the side of the road and out of the traffic lanes, if possible. If you cannot do so or you feel it is dangerous to move your vehicle, carefully exit your vehicle and move yourself to a safe location away from traffic until help arrives.
Even if your accident seems minor, call the police and file an accident report. Do not admit guilt or responsibility for the accident to the police or other persons. Some individuals who are shaken up after an accident become overly apologetic while others may become angry and combative. It is important to remain calm and let the police do their job.
Never chase a hit-and-run driver. A chase could put you and other drivers in harm’s way. If you can only remember one piece of information make it the other driver’s license plate number. Knowing the make, model and color of the car will also be helpful. Call the police. Even if you have very little information about the other driver, a police report will be necessary for any insurance claim or legal action.
Exchange information with the driver of the other car or cars. Gather names, phone numbers, addresses and insurance information. If there are witnesses on the scene take down their contact information as well. Witnesses may be particularly helpful in identifying hit and run drivers or understanding the full picture of a major accident. Use your smartphone to take pictures of the accident scene and any property damage.
Organize all documents regarding your accident and keep them together. Important documents include the police report, the other driver’s information, insurance documents, medical papers, repair estimates or bills associated with the accident. Keeping your documentation organized will help you and your lawyer accurately review your matter and calculate expenses.
If you or a loved one is injured in an accident it is extremely important to contact a lawyer as soon as possible. Those who are seriously injured are often unable to gather evidence at the scene. A lawyer can help explain the process and help make sure vital information is gathered and preserved as evidence.
7. Traffic Tickets
If the officer on the scene believes you committed a traffic offense you may be issued a ticket. It is important to be polite and cooperative. Avoid arguing with the officer. Comply with requests for your name, driver’s license, registration and insurance information. Signing the ticket is not an admission of guilt, it only shows that you were provided with a copy of the citation. Save any objections or arguments for court.
Use the LegalShield App to send your ticket directly to your LegalShield provider law firm. Once received, your LegalShield provider law firm will process the information and call you within 8 business hours. Submitting your ticket right away helps ensure a lawyer is available for your court date and has plenty of time to prepare your case. Download the LegalShield App today from the Apple Store or Google Play.
8. Settlement Agreements
It may be tempting to take a settlement to pay for repairs, a replacement vehicle or medical bills, but it’s important to make sure the settlement is fair and that it truly compensates you for the long-term consequences of the accident.
A lawyer can help you consider all of the potential costs and negotiate a fair settlement on your behalf. Do not sign any documents or agree to any type of settlement without calling your LegalShield provider law firm to speak with a lawyer.