There were 50,878 personal injuries on Maryland’s highways in 2016 according to MDOT. Whether your vehicle accident includes minor or major personal injuries, you must know how to respond. There are things you must do as a responsible driver.
But, there are four things to avoid doing:
- Leave the scene: You don’t leave the scene of an accident under any circumstances. If the accident is truly minor, you can pull to the side of the road out of traffic. But, if there is damage or injuries enough to call the police and report the accident, you should leave the vehicle in place until police suggest move. Leaving the scene earns a criminal charge of “hit and run.”
With a hit and run or leaving the scene charge, you will see your insurance rates soar. Depending on the state of residence you could also lose your driver’s license. Driving on following an accident is a real “No, no!”
- Tell them “I’m sorry!” There is no reason to admit fault to the other driver. Apologizing puts you at a disadvantage because you are taking legal responsibility. When you admit guilt, you are setting yourself up to take legal responsibility. In Maryland, for instance, you wouldn’t want to admit responsibility without the help of an attorney from The Law Offices of Randolph Rice. There’s no reason to incriminate yourself.
Regardless of your impression of what’s happened in the accident, you don’t want to negotiate things with the other driver. It removes your leverage in dealing with the insurance companies and other lawyers’ involved. You just don’t need to discuss the events with anyone other than your lawyer.
- Clean up the scene: You have no duty to protect the accident scene. You should let the police do that. Especially if the accident is the result of the other driver’s intentional or criminal negligence, the police may want to inspect the whole picture.
The insurance company also need authoritative input on the details and scenario. While the cops investigate, you should be taking care of yourself and passengers. However, if you are comfortable enough, you could take notes on everything that has happened including the other driver’s registration and insurance information, conversations with the first responders, and photos of the accident scene, vehicle damage, and physical damage to your person and passengers.
- Ignore the insurance company: You must call your car insurance company as soon as you are able. If you can, you should call from the accident scene without waiting until later. Theyneed as much of a lead on the claim as possible, and they will advise you what to do and what not to do at the scene.
Where possible the insurance company may want to send an inspector to the scene. Otherwise, you do need to know how to arrange for towing services and a rental to replace your car while the process continues.
A final tip
At all costs, you must not lose your temper. You must avoid an argument or picking a fight. It will only aggravate the situation and exacerbate your problems. And, you should familiarize yourself with Maryland’s Central Records Division.