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You've been in a car wreck. Now what?

Car wrecks are unexpected and stressful. Even the most careful driver can be in a wreck.

Immediately after the wreck:

  • Take a breath and stay calm.
  • Call 911.
  • Turn on your car's hazard lights.
  • Check for injuries - yours and your passengers.
  • If you are able to move safely, check on the drivers and passengers in the other car(s).

The cardinal Rule for all car wrecks is that you should stay at the scene until it is appropriate to leave, or the police tell you it is ok to leave. (This suggestion is the same whether you're in a car, truck, SUV, or on a motorcycle or bicycle.)

An exception to the Rule: If you are hit by another car in a deserted area, use caution in stopping and getting out of your vehicle. Unfortunately, there have been reported incidents where a person exited their vehicle in a deserted or unsafe area after being bumped by another car only to be robbed or killed. Instead of getting out of the car if you find yourself in that situation, drive to the nearest police station to report the accident. If it turns out that you were being over-cautious and the other driver had no ill intentions, you may be embarrassed, but you will also be safe.

If you are able to move, take pictures. Take pictures of your car, the other car(s) involved, and the scene. If you have visible injuries, take pictures of those as well.

If you're hurt, get medical treatment. You may need to take an ambulance from the scene of the wreck to a nearby hospital. You may not start hurting until after the adrenaline wears off. In that case, go to your primary care doctor or an urgent care to get checked out. Continue to get medical treatment as recommended by your doctor.

Use caution in discussing the incident. Do not talk to anyone about the wreck other than your attorney, your insurance company, and the police. Do not talk to a representative of another insurance company under any circumstances, without the knowledge of your attorney or your insurance company. If representatives from other insurance companies should call you, be polite, but ask them to call your attorney or insurance company. Also, get the representative's name and number, and tell your insurance company or attorney that someone seeking information about your accident contacted you.

Do not post about your wreck on social media. No matter what security level you have on your account, your post and pictures likely will be seen by an insurance company.

Finally, do not sign any documents unless it is for the police, or your attorney advises you to sign. You may be settling your claim before it is appropriate.

Ultimately, if you've been injured in a wreck, it is to your advantage to consult with an attorney and get advice.  Call or Email us today!

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John McCabe wrote "The Investigation and Analysis of Personal Injury Cases" in the best-selling book Personal Injury Practice in North Carolina. This is the book that other lawyers follow in handling personal injury cases.

  • Rated by | Super Lawyers | John M. McCabe | SuperLawyers.com
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The Law Offices of John M. McCabe, P.A.
1130 Kildaire Farm Road
Suite 230
Cary, NC 27511

Toll Free: 877-320-1851
Phone: 919-899-9852
Fax: 919-833-3371
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