What to Do After a Car Crash in North Carolina
Advice from experienced auto accident attorneys
According to the Highway Safety Research Center of the University of North Carolina, there were more than 80,000 auto accidents across the state in 2015 that resulted in injuries. Charlotte was the scene of 10,335 injury accidents, while Raleigh was the site for 4,479 such incidents. If you are injured in a car crash anywhere in the state, the personal injury attorneys at Marcari, Russotto, Spencer & Balaban are close by and ready to help. But first, you need to take prudent steps to make yourself safe and, whenever possible, preserve evidence for your case.
Steps you should take immediately after an accident in North Carolina
Traffic accidents in North Carolina are on the rise, especially in and around booming cities such as Charlotte, Raleigh, and Winston-Salem. If you are in an accident, follow these steps to keep safe and strengthen your case:
- Get your vehicle out of traffic — As long as you are in the path of traffic, you are vulnerable to a second collision with an oncoming vehicle. Move your car. If you can’t move your car, you have to make it more visible and divert traffic around it. If it’s nighttime, illuminate your car with cabin lights in addition to your hazards. Carefully consider whether it is safe to leave your car and place traffic cones, triangles, or flairs in the lane behind your vehicle. Never drop flares if you are leaking fuel.
- Call 911 — Alert the police and request an ambulance at your location.
- Perform basic first aid — Take care of yourself and your passengers. The law requires you to render reasonable assistance to passengers in other vehicles.
- Take cellphone photos — You should record images of damage to all vehicles and other property, road conditions, and injuries. Take a picture of the other car’s license plate.
- Collect identifying information — You are required to exchange identifying information with the driver of the other car, but use common sense. If you suspect the driver may be under the influence of alcohol or drugs, wait for the police to arrive.
- Get contact information from witnesses — If anyone stops to help, ask if they saw what happened and, if possible, get a business card.
- Report your concerns to the police — When the police arrive, explain what happened. Let them know if you think the other driver is under the influence.
- Get medical assistance — Even if you think you’re only a bit shaken up, go to the emergency room and let a doctor check you out. Adrenaline can mask pain; you could have a dangerous condition that needs immediate treatment and not even know it. If you skip the ER and later develop pain, the other driver could claim as a defense that a later incident, and not the crash, caused your injuries.
- Call us — Our firm has full-time crash investigators ready to begin work on your accident. We can get to many scenes before physical evidence starts to disappear.
Just as there are things you should do following an accident, there are things you should never do:
- Don’t express regret or apologize — North Carolinians are generally very nice people, apt to say, “I’m so sorry” when something unfortunate happens, even if they are in no way to blame. But such an expression of sympathy can be taken as an admission of liability, so you must be very careful.
- Don’t get angry — Even if you have every reason to be furious with a reckless driver, keep your emotions in check and leave the justice to the police.
- Don’t engage an out-of-control driver — Don’t be drawn into a confrontation; withdraw to your car, roll up the windows, and lock the doors.
- Don’t leave the scene before the police arrive — Unless you are in direct danger, you must remain on the scene. Leaving not only looks bad; it’s a crime.
None of us can be sure how we will react until we’ve actually had an accident. The most important point is to keep a cool head and to remember that help is just a phone call away.
Contact our experienced auto accident lawyers in North Carolina
When an auto accident suddenly turns your life upside down, trust Marcari, Russotto, Spencer & Balaban to manage your case professionally and give you peace of mind. Our team consists of skilled attorneys, full-time investigators, and dedicated paralegals who are committed to producing positive results. Schedule a free consultation and case evaluation today by calling us at (888) 351-1038 or contacting our office online.