Not all traffic accidents involve ambulances and trips to the hospital. Some are fender benders that can result in costly damage but no immediately apparent injuries. These are the types of accidents where taking steps to stay compliant with applicable laws needs some extra attention as it is easy to fail to do something required or necessary. Here are four things to consider about staying compliant with the law after an accident.
Get Off the Road
Depending on what state you live in, you may have already seen signs along interstates that say something such as, “Fender bender? Pull to the side of the road.” It is a public service message to let drivers know it is okay to clear the traffic lane and get vehicles safely off to the side of the road. Some drivers are worried about compromising the scene of the accident and getting into trouble by moving their cars. This is not the case in a Texas or a Maryland fender bender accident with no injuries.
Do Not Leave the Scene
This one should be obvious, but some drivers may think that a slight bump or scrape does not need to be handled in an official manner and may drive away. The thought may be that the driver’s insurance will cover it anyway, so what’s the big deal? The big deal is that fines for leaving the scene of an accident may be imposed upon the driver who does not attempt to stop and trade insurance and contact information. Depending on what state you live in, the police do not always need to be notified for minor accidents. However, it is not a bad idea to involve their assistance if you want an official police report of the incident. At the very least, the parties involved should trade contact and insurance information. It is okay to proceed to a safe area away from traffic or get to a safe area if you feel threatened.
Do Not Lie to the Police
There have been situations where drivers have convinced a passenger to say he or she was driving when the accident happened. There have been instances of uninsured drivers telling the police they have insurance. Even a minor fender bender can create extreme anxiety in some people. Drivers have given false names and addresses for various reasons, but this behavior can result in steep fines and imprisonment for giving false information to the police. Giving fake insurance and contact information to the other driver involved in the accident can also lead to prosecution. You should never declare you are at fault, but do not lie about who was driving. Also, be truthful about your name, address, phone number and auto insurance information. Places like The Jaklitsch Law Group further recommends the importance of consulting with an attorney for any serious accident or one involving injuries to protect yourself if you are at fault or to seek damages if you are an injured victim.
Know Your State Law for Notifying the Police and the DMV
Some states do not require that motorists notify the police for a minor accident that does not involve injuries. Some states do. Furthermore, some states have a requirement for filling out a form and submitting it to the state’s department of motor vehicles to be fully compliant with the law. You can assume that any automobile accident involving injuries or death absolutely must be reported to the police. Drivers licensed in Maryland who are involved in an accident must file a report within 15 days with the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration if there were any injuries sustained in the accident or if it resulted in the death of a person.
Common sense goes a long way toward staying compliant with laws after being involved in a motor vehicle accident. Fender bender accidents usually just involve damage to inanimate objects that can be repaired. Do your best to remain calm, do not admit fault, and be truthful in giving insurance and contact information to anyone directly involved in the accident and to any law enforcement person on the scene who asks.
Author information: Kare Masterson is a freelance writer from West Jordan, Utah. She graduated from the University of Utah and enjoys writing and spending time with her dog, Max. You can find Kara on Facebook and Twitter.