You’re likely feeling a range of emotions if you recently experienced a car accident in North Carolina. While you might feel overwhelmed, it’s crucial to think clearly and to take steps that protect your rights under North Carolina car accident laws. If you need assistance after a Durham car accident, contact the Law Offices of Naomi Ellis, PLLC for a free consultation.
In the meantime, review the information below to learn how to best protect yourself after a North Carolina auto accident.
Ensure Everyone Is Safe and Check for Injuries
Before anything else, make sure everyone is safe. If it’s possible and safe, move your car out of traffic to prevent an additional accident. Turn on your hazard lights and set up safety triangles or cones if you have them.
Check yourself and other passengers for injuries. If anyone is injured, call 911 immediately. Getting prompt medical attention is crucial for health reasons and any subsequent personal injury claims.
Contact Law Enforcement
Regardless of the accident’s severity, it’s essential to call the police. The responding officer will create a report, which can be a vital piece of evidence when dealing with insurance companies or if a legal dispute arises. Ensure you get the report number to obtain a copy when it’s complete.
Exchange information with the other drivers and all involved parties, including witnesses. This information should include:
- Names, addresses, and phone numbers;
- Insurance company and policy numbers;
- Driver’s license numbers;
- License plate numbers; and
- Vehicle descriptions (make, model, year).
Obtaining contact information is crucial if there were witnesses to the car accident. The witnesses might be instrumental in confirming your account of events.
Document the Scene
Also, document the scene. Take pictures of the vehicles, any damage, license plates, and the surrounding area, if possible. Look for things that might be important to your claim, such as skid marks and debris.
Watch What You Say
Be careful with your words at the scene and when you speak with the investigating officer, emergency workers, and witnesses. North Carolina car accident laws include pure contributory negligence. This means that if you’re found to be even slightly at fault, it could prevent you from recovering any compensation. So exchange information, but be careful to avoid discussions about who was at fault. Something as simple as saying I’m sorry can be used against you as an admission of fault. Do not speak to the other driver’s insurance company if they attempt to contact you.
Seek Medical Attention
Even if you feel okay, seeing a doctor after an accident is a good idea. Some injuries, like concussions or internal injuries, might not manifest immediately. Additionally, having a medical record can help support any potential claims.
Notify Your Insurance Company
Report the accident to your insurance company as soon as possible. Be truthful about the events and provide any necessary documentation. Your insurance company will tell you whether you must file a claim with the other driver’s insurance or whether they will do it for you.
Consult with a Lawyer Familiar with NC Car Accident Laws
Consider seeking advice from a lawyer experienced in North Carolina car accident cases. We can guide you through the complexities of personal injury cases, ensuring that your rights are protected and helping you navigate any claims.
Remember, every car accident in North Carolina is unique, and navigating the aftermath of a car accident can be daunting. Fortunately, the Law Offices of Naomi Ellis, PLLC, can help. Attorney Naomi Ellis has years of experience handling car accident claims across North Carolina and is here to support you every step of the way. Contact our office today to schedule a free, no-obligation initial consultation.