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MAIN Arrow to Home LifeHome Life Arrow to Legal AdvisorHome Legal Guide Arrow to Auto AccidentsAuto Accidents

traffic accidentDo you consider yourself a safe driver?

Accidents happen to even the best drivers — so be aware of the appropriate actions you need to take before you are involved in an accident, at the scene, and immediately afterward. Legal hassles that arise from car or motorcycle collisions can be avoided if you can keep your head and know what to do.


What to do at the scene of an auto accident

It is a good idea to make a police report at the scene of any accident. If possible, get the names and contact details of people who saw what happened. If you have a cell phone camera handy, take photos of the accident.

Always exchange insurance information whether or not it seems necessary. Few drivers are clear-headed after an accident, and you or your car may have sustained damage that is not noticed until later.

Of course, this assumes that the accident was a minor fender bender and no injuries were involved. If you get hurt in a car accident, no matter how minor you think the injury might be, get it checked. If an ambulance is called you have a right to refuse treatment, but it's always wise to have it looked at by a medical professional in case it is something more serious.


What NOT to say

Whether you feel that it's your fault or not, don't make any admissions of guilt at the scene.

Be honest about what happened when you speak to the other driver or the police, but stick to the facts. Many drivers are rattled, even by a minor accident. Often drivers will get out of their cars apologizing, and accepting the blame for what happened, whether or not it actually was their fault.

Like an argument, it usually takes two to cause an accident. You can't know what the other driver was doing that may have contributed to the events. It may seem that you did or didn't do something that created the situation, but you'll be surprised to know that most drivers feel that way when they hit something.

You may not have applied the brakes in time to avoid a collision, but the other driver may have been going too fast. A slower moving car would have given you a little more time to react and the accident would not have happened. You only know that you didn't stop in time. The report you give should be unemotional, clear and factual. There are courts and lawyers to sort out where the responsibility lies.

When you have a chance to rerun the scene in your mind after you calm down, you may remember details that make it clear you did not cause the accident. If you admit that the accident was your fault in the police report, you make it difficult for your lawyer to argue your case if it comes to that.


How to avoid most car accidents

Did you know that most accidents happen just a short distance from the driver's home? Therefore, if you skip the seat belt because you're only driving to the store... you're increasing the probability that you'll be injured if you do get hit by another car.

The best accidents are the ones you can avoid. Most areas ban the use of cell phones while driving because it increases your chances of having an accident. It isn't just the law, it saves lives, so always turn off the phone when you're behind the wheel. Avoid driving when you are tired or on medication that may slow down your reactions. Make sure to have a designated driver if you will be drinking. Keep you car running properly. Have the tires, brakes, and steering checked on a regular schedule and check the fluid levels often.


More about auto accidents around the Web:

On the Web, check out helpful guides to what to say and do in the event of an accident, what information to gather at the scene, how to file a claim or damage report, your rights under U.S. state law, plus additional information on typical everyday car accidents - and how best to avoid them ...

also see -> How to Fight a Traffic Ticket | Crime Victim Support

Drunk Driving Laws

 

Car Accidents: Proving Fault - Check out expert advice from nolo.com on how to obtain police reports, knowing your rights under state law, a discussion on rear-end collisions and left-turn accidents, plus related links to general personal liability guides.

NHTSA - National Highway Traffic Safety Administration - More about prevention rather than legal help, but may save you lots of headaches down the road - with pages of info on the latest child passenger safety and seating, crash tests and statistics, rollover information, recalls and more.


The information provided on these pages is intended as reference
only and does not constitute professional legal advice.



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