What You Should Do When Describing an Accident
Car accidents are scary even when they don’t result in serious injury or death. Many motorists become even more frightened when they’re asked to describe what happened by police or other authorities. Whether you’ve been in a major accident or need to report a less serious accident, there are some simple rules you can follow to ensure that you communicate successfully with authorities.
How to Talk to Authorities About an Accident
If you’ve been involved in an auto accident that resulted in injury or death, significant damage to vehicles or damage to property, you’ll likely need to talk to the authorities about what happened. Depending upon what happens at the scene of the accident, you may speak to law enforcement officers immediately or in the future. Regardless of when you talk to authorities, it’s essential to know how you should talk to them.
Jot down notes about what happened as soon as possible after an accident. You shouldn’t give these notes themselves to a police officer, but you should use them to guide you as you explain what occurred. Give information as clearly and concisely as possible. If you don’t know the answer to a question you are asked, be honest and say so. Never make up an answer, no matter how much you think it might help you.
It’s also important to assert only facts, not your opinion. However, you shouldn’t admit blame or accept blame. If the police indicate that you are at fault and might be arrested, decline to provide further information until you can contact an attorney. Do be sure to point out any illegal or dangerous actions on the part of other drivers.
Of course, you always have the right to give a police officer only basic information. By law, you must provide your legal name, driver’s license, car registration and insurance information. It’s a good idea to provide only these essentials if you’re concerned that you might be accused of a crime in addition to the accident.
In addition to knowing what you should say to authorities after an accident, you should also know what you shouldn’t do at the scene. It’s essential that you are extremely careful when talking to others involved in the accident. Try not to say “I’m sorry” or blurt out phrases that implicate that you might be at fault. It’s also essential that you stay at the scene of the accident until authorities tell you that you can leave.
At the Law Office of Gary Poole, we’re a Chapel Hill law firm dedicated to helping those involved in auto and motorcycle accidents. If you’ve been in an accident and need help, call us today to schedule a consultation.