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What do I do if I'm involved in a car accident?

If someone becomes involved in a car accident in North Carolina, there are certain steps that must be taken. All individuals involved in a crash have legal responsibilities and rights, regardless of whether or not they caused the incident.

All drivers involved in a crash are legally responsible to stop and remain at the scene if personal injury, death or property damage resulted. A driver may leave the scene temporarily to seek help but must return immediately. If an injury occurred, medical assistance and the police should be called immediately. Bystanders and those involved in the accident should render aid to the best of their ability.

Drivers involved in a crash do not need to report the accident to the police if no injury or property damage occurred. If the other driver was at fault, notifying the authorities is recommended. Those involved should remain at the scene and assist the officers once they arrive. They should also get the names, addresses and phone numbers of any witnesses who observed the accident but may not wish to stay at the scene until officers arrive. If the accident involved a parked vehicle, the driver should leave their information on the vehicle and contact the local police.

Once they are released from the scene by the police, after visiting a doctor if applicable, those involved in a crash may wish to seek legal advice from an attorney if they believe they have a case against the other driver. Because all cases are different, the attorney may review the evidence prior to accepting a case to determine if their client has grounds for a lawsuit. If the other driver caused the crash, this step may be done prior to filing a claim with the insurance company, as the attorney may represent the injured party. The information in this article should not be construed as specific legal advice.

Source: North Carolina Bar Association , "What to Do in Case of an Auto Accident", November 12, 2014

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