What to Do in the 24 Hours After a Serious Car Accident
By the Criminal Defense Attorneys at Knox Law Center in Charlotte & Lake Norman
Nobody leaves the house expecting to get into a serious car crash, yet there are hundreds of thousands of car accidents in North Carolina each year. The state ranks among the worst for deadly car crashes with 1,396 deaths in 2017, according to the North Carolina DMV1. Equally alarming, motor vehicle crashes are the primary cause of death for North Carolina teens.2
Knowing the steps to take immediately after an accident can help make the days, weeks and months that follow the crash a little bit smoother. Your actions can not only have a significant impact on your health but can determine whether you–or your teen– will be considered at fault for causing the crash.
To minimize trouble, make sure you understand the 7 most critical actions to take after a serious car accident:
Stay on the Scene
After an accident, you might be tempted to flee the out of fear, but North Carolina law requires parties to a car accident to remain on the scene and provide reasonable assistance to others injured in the crash. Leaving an accident may result in either misdemeanor or felony hit-and-run charges against you, depending on the degree of injuries and damage involved.
Get Medical Attention
Following the crash, scan your body to assess whether you have any injuries or whether anything feels “off.” If something doesn’t feel right, seek medical attention immediately, even if the injury seems slight. If you don’t seek medical attention, the other driver’s insurance company may argue that your injuries aren’t serious.
Call The Police
North Carolina law requires you to call the police when there’s been a grave injury, death, or more than $1,000 worth of damage to property.3 A police report will document vital information about the accident and may help strengthen a personal injury claim or criminal defense.
Amass as much evidence as possible while on the scene. Obtain information such as the other driver’s name, license plate number, insurance company name, and the names and telephone numbers of witnesses. If it’s safe to do so, take photos of the scene or have someone take them for you. A photograph may capture evidence that supports your view of the accident.
Retain a North Carolina Criminal Defense Attorney
If the accident has resulted in extensive property damage injuries, it’s crucial to have an experienced North Carolina car accident attorney to represent your interests. In the case of an underage driver, and drugs or alcohol were a factor, you should contact an experienced juvenile crimes defense attorney in Charlotte to ensure that your child’s rights are protected.
Notify Your Insurance Company
You should report that accident to your insurance company as soon as possible. North Carolina is a “fault” state, which means that the person at-fault will be held responsible for costs arising out of the accident. Your insurance company will investigate the accident and seek reimbursement from the at-fault driver’s company. If you do not report the accident in a timely manner, it may endanger your ability to get reimbursed.
Do not, under any circumstances, speak with the other driver’s insurance company unless your attorney is present. However, sympathetic they sound, they do not have your interests at heart and can use whatever you say to assign blame to you in the accident.
If you or your teen been involved in a car accident in or around Charlotte & Mecklenburg county, please contact the Charlotte criminal defense attorneys at Knox Law Center today. We can investigate the accident and help you preserve your rights and make it through an expensive & challenging legal process.
1. Cite: https://www.wcnc.com/article/news/investigations/investigators/study-nc-ranks-among-worst-states-for-deadly-car-crashes/275-603897545
The attorneys at Knox Law Center have been providing effective criminal defense services for decades in Mecklenburg county and Charlotte, NC. Our attorneys can help navigate the confusing and expensive process of clearing charges from individual’s records, reinstating their full rights and generally helping to put the criminal charges behind them. Give our Charlotte criminal defense lawyers a call today to learn more about your options.
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