Taking Care of Yourself & Your Car
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There are many steps that you need to take if you are ever in a car accident. You must know what this entails because it can drastically affect the outcome. It would help if you were sure about your actions and decisions in a car accident because there may be criminal charges involved depending on certain factors like fault determination, injuries, fatalities, or damages.
The following information will guide you with the proper protocol for incidents involving different types of accidents:
1) Minor Car Accident
If both drivers have some damage caused by the event, but no one has been injured, the police will typically only come if someone calls them. Otherwise, they won’t even show up unless there are some severe injuries, a fatality or major damage to either car which would cost a lot of money to fix. Suppose the vehicles have been damaged, but no one has been injured. In that case, each driver must complete a Driver Vehicle Accident Report, file an SR-1 form with their insurance company, and exchange information such as driver’s license and vehicle registration.
Minor car accidents are considered fender benders that only need a tow truck for vehicles that cannot be driven from the scene. For significant accidents like lane change car accidents, involving injuries requiring medical attention, it becomes a police matter, and anyone else involved in the accident will be cited depending on who is deemed at fault after an investigation is conducted by law enforcement officials.
2) Auto Wreck Caused by Reckless Driving
If you are hit by someone driving recklessly, the police will likely come because reckless driving is a crime. Not only can the person be charged with crimes like DUI or DWI, but they can also be cited for negligent motor vehicle operation in most states. Also, if they flee the scene of an accident, then they may also face criminal charges.
If there are serious injuries or fatalities, law enforcement officials will investigate immediately, even if no one fled the scene. It becomes a felony punishable by fines and jail/prison time if anyone dies due to this kind of negligence. Drivers at fault in car wrecks may also face civil lawsuits depending on what happened, so their insurance companies must pay for the damages.
3) Car Accident Involving Drunk Driving
If you are ever in a car accident involving drunk driving, it becomes a matter of public record, so the police will come even if no one calls them. One driver can be arrested and face criminal charges depending on what happened in terms of injuries and fatalities and the amount of alcohol found in their bloodstream. If there was enough alcohol involved to charge someone with DWI, they might also face other related crimes such as hit-and-run/leaving the scene of an accident or vehicular manslaughter.
The person at fault or an injured driver should call their insurance company, file SR-1 forms, and inform their insurance company of the incident. The police should also be called to conduct a proper investigation and file a report with them so that the book does everything to avoid any future complications or problems.
4) Car Accident Involving an Uninsured Driver
Suppose you are involved in an accident involving an uninsured driver. In that case, no one will likely call the police unless there are injuries or fatalities because auto insurance companies handle damage claims against people without car insurance. Usually, drivers must carry liability coverage and uninsured motorist coverage to protect themselves and other drivers, just like those with car insurance. However, if they do not abide by state laws and skip buying it, this may become your problem and the other driver’s problem since both of you will have accidents that you must file claims on. All drivers should carry at least liability coverage because it is the minimum requirement in most states – otherwise, they risk higher rates if caught driving without insurance.
5) Car Accident Involving a Hit-And-Run Driver
Suppose someone leaves the scene of an accident, especially if it involves injuries or fatalities. In that case, law enforcement officials will come immediately to conduct an investigation and file a report about what happened. Sometimes eyewitnesses can even identify hit-and-run drivers, making it easier for investigators to figure out who was involved in the accident and to arrest them for possibly causing damage or injury to others.
Anyone injured or whose property is damaged due to any car accidents involving a hit-and-run driver should immediately call their insurance companies and file SR-1 forms to get the process moving. Even if no one were injured, the police would come, so it’s best to contact them as well, even if someone has already left the scene of an accident. Right after any car accident caused by another driver, you must do your part in protecting yourself from other drivers who escape responsibility for causing damage or injury.
6) Car Accident Involving a Vehicle With No License Plate
If you are involved in a car accident with another driver who does not have a license plate on his/her vehicle, it is possible that they fled the scene of an accident. They most likely had no license plate because they most likely do not have a valid driver’s license, making them ineligible to drive a car legally.
It becomes a severe offense and may even be prosecutable depending on what happens during or after the car accident, such as injuries or death. Right after any car accident with someone driving without valid license plates, contact the police to conduct their investigation and file a report, which is needed when filing insurance claims. If anyone is injured, call their insurance company immediately to file an SR-1 form and start the claims process. If no one was injured in the accident, you should still contact your insurance company to file a claim since any damage or loss caused by someone without license plates is still your problem, even if you are not at fault for causing this accident.