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These tips can greatly help reduce the rate of accidents by preventing them in the first place. It is important to know "what to do" to avoid an accident and immediately upon the accident, so that the resulting legal implications and problems can be lessened.
STOP: All state laws require that the drivers of the vehicles involved in the accident that has resulted in damage of property, loss of life or injury stop at the scene of the accident or nearby with least obstruction to traffic. Not doing so or absconding from the scene is treated as an independent violation.
TAKING CARE OF THE INJURED: Immediately upon stopping the vehicle, look for any injured persons. Call emergency in case you find any injured people. Do not touch or move the injured unless you are trained to be a paramedic, it may result in further injury resulting in further liabilities.
THE SCENE: Make sure that no further accidents take place as a result of the current one. Station someone or keep a sign to divert traffic around any obstruction caused due to the accident. Use a flashlight or flare or any other source of light at night to divert.
CALL THE POLICE: Using your mobile phone or a nearby pay phone or any phone, call the local police station or the nearest law enforcement authority.
TALK: Do not talk or comment about the accident with anyone, take notes in all detailed respects possible and keep them to yourself. No statements regarding blames or faults are to be made. The law requires giving out your name and contact details only to police officers or to the other party involved in the accident.
LEND ASSISTANCE: Unless you are injured and need immediate medical attention, remain at the scene of the accident until an officer arrives. Always lend complete assistance to the law officer. Do not admit fault or responsibility until you contact your solicitor.
DETAILS OF THE OTHER PARTY: Ask and note down the relevant details of the other driver like his/ her name, phone number, address, vehicle registration number, driving license number and any other relevant information and offer the same information about yourself to the other driver.
WITNESSES: Ask and note down the names, addresses, and contact numbers of any and all witnesses on the scene, as soon as you can. Make sure you include the eye witnesses and the others who can throw some more light on the accident.
ARREST: Arrest at the scene of the accident does not purport to any liability, either to you or the other party. Make no statements until you talk to your solicitor, since they may be used against you in the court of law at a later date. Ask the police officer to let you communicate with your solicitor.
LEAVING THE SCENE: If you are injured, you should seek medical attention immediately. Inform the police officer of the same and ask to be taken to a hospital. Otherwise, do not leave the scene of the accident until you have done the above mentioned tasks of noting down the details and filled out the Accident Information Form.
PHYSICIAN: Always remember to see your physician, even if you feel no apparent discomfort. Some injuries like whiplash injuries manifest a little later and can prove to be fatal. Internal injuries are also not ruled out. A complete physical check up is recommended.
INSURANCE COMPANY: Inform your insurance company about the accident immediately. Failure to do so may affect your rights adversely.
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