If you’re in a car accident in North Carolina involving death, injury or property damage, the law requires that you stop your vehicle and remain at the scene of the accident until authorized to leave the scene by a law enforcement officer. An exception to this is leaving the scene to obtain medical help or assistance.
The health of the individuals at the scene is of primary concern. Offer assistance or call for emergency help for the injured.
Notify the police department or highway patrol that there has been an accident. Where a car accident in North Carolina results in personal injury, death or property damage, this is the law.
Obtain the name, address and phone number of anyone who witnessed the accident. It is advisable to have them write down a statement indicating what they saw and have them sign that statement at the scene, if possible.
You’re required by law to provide your name, address, vehicle registration number and license number to the person struck in the accident, or occupants of the other vehicle. Conversely, you should obtain this information from the other driver. It is reasonable to ask the other driver to show you their drivers license.
When the officer arrives, cooperate with the officer and do not leave the scene until the officer authorizes your departure. The officer may ask you to make a statement about the accident—you’re entitled to seek counsel from a lawyer before doing so.
Complete an accident form. If you have blank paper, make notes of pertinent information: Draw the position of the vehicles, walk off distances of skid marks if any, and any other distances which might help to complete the picture. If you have a camera or phone, take photos of the vehicles from numerous angles, including some ‘establishing’ photos from further away to show the vehicles in relation to the road.
See a physician. You can go to the emergency room or your family doctor but it is important to remember that only a doctor can properly assist you in determining whether you’ve been injured. Additionally, some injuries do not appear at the time of the accident. A follow-up visit to your doctor within ten days of the accident is advisable as well.
Do not pay or exchange money with anyone. Do not promise to make a payment or accept the promise of a payment. You don’t want to do anything to compromise your rights. Instead, notify your insurance company of the accident.
Seek the assistance of a lawyer. Most lawyers will be happy to speak with you about the situation and help provide guidance. At that time, you can decide whether it would be best to go forward with an attorney or work with the insurance company yourself to reach a resolution.
If you have any questions please call my office at 704.749.7747. I’m here to help.