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What to do when you're in a crash in North Carolina

If you're involved in an auto accident, do you know what to do? Your initial thoughts may not be to consider what is legal or not; you may be worrying about your own health and well-being, and that's what you should do. However, if you're not badly injured, there are some steps you should take.

As a victim, you may think that the burden of reporting the accident or seeking out information lies with others, but that's not the case. You'll want to seek as much information out about the driver who is responsible as possible. Remember to talk to witnesses and get their information, like their addresses and phone numbers, and call the police or 911, depending on the circumstances of your accident.

The very first thing required by law is that anyone who is able calls for assistance and assists the injured. It doesn't matter if the person who hit you is the one who is hurt; medical assistance is necessary, and if you can provide it, it is an obligation that you offer reasonable assistance to that person. You can't be held liable for injuries caused by offering assistance, unless you attempt to hurt the person in some way.

After or during the first step, an officer should be called and assisted at the scene. It's necessary for you and anyone else in the accident to exchange information, but you do not have to admit fault. The other party does not need to, either. However, you can tell the police your side of what happened, and fault may be determined based on an investigation of the scene.

Source: North Carolina Bar, "This is the Law," accessed June 14, 2016

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