The moments after a car accident are often full of confusion. You’re in shock of what happened but are also worrying about injuries, damages, and what you’re supposed to do next. At Belsky, Weinberg & Horowitz, LLC, we understand that car accidents happen, and people need to be aware of what actions they need to take after one occurs. It is also important that you know how to protect your rights after an accident.
What you do after a car wreck could possibly affect your settlement. Not following the proper protocol could mean getting less compensation than you deserve. One important step is exchanging information with the other driver or drivers who were involved. If you echange not enough information, it may be difficult to file the police report, but if you exchange too much information, it’s possible that your claim may be jeopardized depending on how the information is given. Here’s everything you need to know about driver information exchangement and how it should be handled.
What Info to Exchange in a Car Accident?
The most basic information that should be exchanged according to Maryland laws includes the names, addresses, and license numbers for all of the involved drivers. Then, the drivers need to give one another information about their insurance companies and the policy numbers.
There’s some additional information that you may want to take note of as well. You could include the address and location of where the accident happened, including the date and time. If the police are involved, you may want to get their names and badge numbers, so you can keep track of who responded to your collision.
Taking photographs of the scene can preserve evidence that may be beneficial to you later. Document the entire accident scene. Get photographs of the scene and also take close-ups of damages. When you think you’ve taken enough, take more photographs. You never know what detail you’re missing. Having multiple photos from every angle possible increases your chances of capturing everything. If you decide to file a legal claim, your attorney may be able to use these images to back up your claim and help you get a favorable settlement.
What If the Other Party Is Uncooperative?
While you may be prepared to exchange the correct information so you and the other driver can inform your insurance companies and move forward from the accident, it doesn’t necessarily mean the other party is going to be helpful. It’s possible they will refuse to work with you. They may refuse to give you the necessary information, so you don’t know who they are or who their insurance company is.
This may seem ridiculous, but there are several reasons that could prompt them to do this. While the reasons don’t make their behavior excusable or legal, it’s still important to understand why. A driver could be worried about getting points on their license or they could be thinking about what the crash will do to their insurance premium. This could affect their ability to drive if they’re at risk of losing their license or they don’t think they can afford a higher premium.
This brings you to another important action to take after a car accident—knowing when to call the police. Most of us know that if people have sustained injuries then you need to contact help immediately and report the accident. However, there are other criteria for an accident where you need to contact the police in Maryland.
If you can’t move the vehicles out of the way and need a tow truck, a drunk driver is involved, a driver doesn’t have their license and is refusing to give information, or if a driver tries to leave the accident scene without exchanging information with you, you need to contact authorities.
It is worth noting that doing what the law requires and cooperating with the other party and reporting the accident to the right people may have consequences, but they are not nearly as severe as the consequences of not complying with the law. If a driver who causes an accident chooses to leave the scene of the accident, they’re committing a hit-and-run, which is a felony. The consequences get even worse if they seriously injured someone who needed help, but chose to leave the accident. As soon as irresponsible drivers try to get away with what they’ve done, they instantly make the situation worse for themselves.
Remember, you’re not bothering the police or making a big deal out of nothing when you call them. It’s their job to help you, and a car collision is a situation where you need help the most. Getting the police involved means you’re following the law and protecting your best interests. You’ll have documentation of the accident and you’ll have an unbiased third-party account of what happened. This could be valuable to your claim later.
Knowing When You Need a Reliable Attorney
Whether the other party involved in the crash is cooperating with you or not, doing the right thing will help your claim. You’ll have a physical report and will be on the correct track to reaching a settlement. A personal injury lawyer will further help make sure that your compensation is fair so it will help pay for the costs of your injuries and damages.
Our lawyers are ready to help any Maryland citizen who has been wrongfully injured. A car collision can put your life on hold, but we can help you move forward again. The sooner you get in touch with us, the sooner we can meet for a free consultation and start the legal process of getting you a fair settlement.