Being involved in an accident, even a minor one, can be stressful and overwhelming. You may wonder what to do, and, in some situations, panic may take over.
Deciding to pull over or drive away can impact your life in several ways.
An accident of any severity requires learning about your rights. At Jonathan Perkins Injury lawyers, our Connecticut personal injury lawyer can provide you with the legal services and answers you need.
Here you can learn more about your rights and leaving the scene of an accident in Connecticut.
Connecticut Law Requires You to Render Aid
You agree to certain things when you are issued a Connecticut driver’s license. You agree to follow the rules of the road in the state, which includes rendering aid if you are involved in an accident that causes an injury or damages.
After an accident, you should do the following:
- Pull your vehicle to a safe location near the accident scene
- Give your personal information to the other driver or police
- Provide reasonable aid to anyone injured in the accident
However, what if no one was injured? Are you free to go?
Also, if you leave the scene, you may be charged with a hit and run. This carries extensive legal consequences, so it is in your best interest to remain at the scene and wait for the police to arrive.
Steps to Take After an Accident and Reasons You Should Remain at the Scene
If you are involved in a Connecticut car accident, you have rights. You may forfeit your rights if you leave the scene without reporting it or exchanging information with the other people involved.
Besides the reasons above, there are other considerations to make after a car accident. For example, when the police arrive at the scene, they will collect information and create an official police report. If you plan to file a claim to receive compensation from the other driver, having this report is beneficial.
While you can file an insurance claim without the police report, the document is very helpful in these situations. You will find beneficial information in the report about the accident, such as:
- Speeds involved
- Direction of travel
- Contact information for the other driver
- Observations from the police officer
Also, the police officer who responds to the scene may be able to access camera footage from nearby homes or businesses, analyze the accident scene, and make observations you could miss. They will also be able to document any injuries or damages that occurred.
Potential Issues Related to the Other Driver’s Record
Any other issues can be found by waiting for the authorities to arrive on the scene. For example, the other driver may not have sufficient insurance; their insurance may have lapsed; they may be driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or even have an invalid or suspended license or registration.
Even though these issues may not impact you directly, they may help strengthen your personal injury claim.
An insurance lapse means you won’t be able to file a lawsuit against the insurance company. In this case, you may have to turn to your under or uninsured motorist policies for compensation (if you have them).
If you leave the scene, you may not know the other driver doesn’t have insurance or is underinsured. Because of this, you will likely have to wait much longer to receive a settlement.
Issues of Conflict at a Car Accident Scene
Being involved in an accident can be scary. It can create a sense of panic, and for many people, their “fight or flight” response kicks in. While some people can manage these feelings and emotions, others may become angry and combative.
Trying to deal with someone who is confrontational or angry should be left to the authorities. They can gather accident-related information and ensure you receive a copy of it.
After an accident, you may feel fine. One reason is that your bloodstream is flooded with adrenaline in high-stress situations like this. This can mask the pain and injuries you may have sustained.
Sometimes, accident-caused injuries can take hours, days, or even weeks to appear.
Leaving the scene of the accident means no police report. This can make it difficult for your doctor or attorney to link the accident to your injuries if they develop long after the incident occurred.
It’s also recommended that you get medical treatment after an accident, even if you feel fine. Your doctor can ensure the proper tests are administered to help you prove that your injuries were accident related.
Fault Admission by the Other Driver
After an accident, the other driver may admit that they were at fault for the incident. If you don’t have any documentation, they may recant the statement and leave you struggling to get the compensation you are entitled to.
Steps to Take After a Connecticut Accident
If you are involved in an accident, there’s a lot to think about. It’s smart to make sure you follow all the laws and that you gather everything needed to file a claim.
In any accident, your health comes first. If you experience an injury, be sure to get medical care right away.
After an accident, be sure that you take the right steps to protect yourself and your rights to recover compensation. Steps to take include the following:
- Get to safety. After an accident, evaluate your vehicle to see if it can be moved out of harm’s way. If it is disabled, you should exit the vehicle and get to the side of the road or another nearby safe location. Be sure to help anyone else involved in the accident who may need it.
- Call 911. If it’s an emergency, call 911. If damages and injuries are small or non-existent, you can call the local police department to have someone dispatched to your location.
- Gather information. After a car accident, you or someone else may not feel calm. If someone is angry or upset, you can take steps to diffuse the situation or wait for the authorities to arrive. If everyone is calm, start gathering information, like contact information, insurance information, etc. All this is needed if you plan to file a personal injury claim.
- Documentation. While at the scene, document as much as possible if you are not injured, and it is safe to do so. This includes the names and badge numbers of the police who come to the scene, witness contact information and take photos of the accident scene. Try to get pictures of the damages to your vehicle and any visible injuries.
- Request a copy of the police report. You should ask the responding officers how to get a copy of the official police report. Make sure you take steps to acquire this or ask your Connecticut personal injury lawyer to do this on your behalf.
After an accident, you will likely have a lot to think about and do. However, to ensure that you follow the proper legal process, especially if the accident was caused by someone else, hire a Connecticut personal injury lawyer. They can review the facts of the accident and help you recover the compensation you are entitled to. They will also know the law and ensure it is followed.
Mistakes to Avoid After a Connecticut Car Accident
As mentioned above, being involved in a car accident can leave you overwhelmed and unsure of where to turn. Also, with so much going on, you may make mistakes that impact your ability to recover compensation.
The best way to avoid this issue is by contacting an experienced car accident lawyer in Connecticut. Knowing some of the most common mistakes made can also help you avoid them.
Mistake: Not Cooperating
It isn’t a good idea to argue with the other drivers or make accusations against them. Try to remain calm and handle the situation in a business-like manner. When the authorities or emergency responders arrive at the scene, be sure to cooperate with them, too. Answer all questions as truthfully as possible, and don’t say anything that may make you seem at fault for the incident.
Mistake: Declining Medical Care
If someone is injured in an accident, call for emergency medical services. If you don’t think this is needed, get to the doctor immediately. Injuries can take some time to appear after an accident. By getting a full medical exam, any hidden injuries can be found and treated, so they don’t get worse.
Mistake: Leaving the Scene
You may be tempted to leave if no one is injured and the situation seems somewhat minor. It is best to wait for the authorities to arrive. In some situations, if you leave the scene, it is considered a hit-and-run, and you may face criminal charges.
Mistake: Going “Public” with the Accident
After an accident, you may be tempted to post about it on social media. It is best to avoid doing this. The information you post here is public and may impact your ability to recover compensation.
Contact a Connecticut Personal Injury Lawyer for Help After a Car Accident
If you are involved in a Connecticut car accident, it’s smart to contact a Connecticut personal injury lawyer from Jonathan Perkins Injury Lawyers. Our legal team has years of experience handling cases similar to yours. You can count on us to provide you with the quality and aggressive legal services that you need to recover the compensation you deserve.
We can also provide additional information and advice regarding handling your accident claim.
We offer all new clients a free initial consultation. During this consultation, we can learn about your case and discuss some options to move forward.