Published On: Mon, May 11th, 2020

5 Things To Do If You’re At Fault In a Car Accident

Even despite your best efforts, you might be at fault for an accident. You may misjudge the amount of space in front of you, and the car in front of you could stop suddenly. There might be weather conditions that cause you to slide. Carelessness and distracted driving can cause accidents, too.

Although it might be tempting to beat yourself up when you’re at fault for an accident, you have important things to do. Once the accident occurs, how you react to it can make a big difference. Even if you have legal fault, you want to make sure that your liability isn’t exploited or inflated. In the immediate aftermath of an accident, you need to protect your rights until you can hire a car accident lawyer. Here are five things to do if you’re at fault in a car accident:

1. Call the Police

All state laws have requirements for calling the police after an accident. In most states, the rule is that you must call the police after any kind of accident, no matter what. Some states have a minimum damage requirement to trigger mandatory reporting. However, the standards are usually easily met for any accident with damage. All states require you to call the police if anyone is hurt.

Even if you’re at fault for the accident, you have nothing to gain by leaving the scene without calling the police. Most states take the requirement to call the police very seriously. Courts often take it seriously, too. You might find yourself risking jail time, fines, substance-abuse monitoring and other penalties. Whatever the reason for the accident or your level of fault, call the police when you’re in an accident. A car accident lawyer can help you address everything later on.

crashed car scene of accident

Photo by Michael Jin on Unsplash

2. Check For Injuries

No matter who is at fault for a car accident, injured parties need medical attention. You can and you should summon medical care for anyone hurt in the accident. If an injured party refuses medical attention, it can actually work to your favor when it comes to legal liability. Not only is summoning medical help the right thing to do, but it can only help your case. Checking for injuries and calling for medical care is vital in circumstances when you’re at fault for a car accident.

3. Exchange Information

State laws require you to exchange information with the other driver. Even if you think you’re at fault for the accident, you still need to exchange information with the other driver. Not only is it a state requirement, but it’s also crucial for protecting your interests. Although you might be at fault for the accident, you want to make sure that you’re not the victim of a scam that goes along with the insurance claim. Having the information that you need is the first step in protecting your rights. Be sure to exchange information with the other driver when an accident occurs, even if you think you may be at fault.

4. Call Your Insurance Company

The insurance company needs to know that the accident occurred. They want to hear about it from you first, before the other side calls. There are two sides to every story, and the insurance company wants your point of view. In fact, your policy probably requires you to call the insurance company right away. Make a short, concise statement that gives the insurance company notice and the facts about what occurred. 

5. Take Photos

They say that a picture is worth 1,000 words. That’s definitely the case when you’re at fault in a car accident. Photos tell the truth without emotions. They aren’t open to interpretation, and they don’t add opinion or argument. Take pictures after an accident. You can hire a car accident lawyer later to help you evaluate the photos.

Things Not To Do After a Car Accident

While there are essential things to do when you’re at fault for a car accident, there are also important things not to do after a car accident. Here are some critical moves to avoid when you think a car accident might be your fault:

  • Yelling
  • Discussing the facts
  • Negotiating
  • Being the first to leave
  • Making assumptions

At first glance, it might seem like the right thing to do is to apologize and admit fault. However, evaluating the facts can take time. Fault might not be as apparent as you initially thought. Keep in mind that your words can be used against you, and yelling only makes a tense situation worse.

Negotiations at the accident scene may not be binding, and you don’t want to make any agreements without the assistance of a car accident lawyer. Take a deep breath, gather the information that you need, and leave your next decisions until you have time to clearly evaluate the situation.

How a Car Accident Lawyer Can Help You

If you think you might be at fault for a car accident, car accident injury lawyer can help you. You shouldn’t assume that you’re at legal fault until an attorney has examined your case. Legal standards for fault are more complex than you might realize. You have rights and options that an experienced car accident lawyer can explain to you. Hiring a car accident lawyer right away is the best step when you think you may be at fault in a car accident.

Author: Tracy Cortez

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