George R. Tucker, Attorney at Law George R. Tucker, Attorney at Law
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Do not leave the scene of an accident unless you have a really good reason

When you are in a crash with a car or truck, it is a very confusing moment.

You may be in shock from the collision. If you're injured, you want to get yourself to the nearest emergency room, ASAP. Those medical records may be important later.

Perhaps you can just speed away from the accident, and hope police can sort things out when they arrive?

Important tasks to attend to

Of course, it depends on the seriousness of your injury. If you can see that you have taken a major hit, you need immediate help. If your life is at stake, you don't want to wait ten minutes for the police to pull up.

There are important information tasks to address. You will want to assess the accident, swap information with the other driver, and get the names and number of witnesses.

What do you do?

There is no perfect solution to this predicament, as every accident has its own unique features. Ideally, you are not traveling alone, and the person traveling with you is an adult. That person can help you make these tough decisions, gather information for you, maybe even take pictures of the scene.

If you wait for the police, they are usually very skilled at assessing the situation and calling an ambulance for you.

Reasons to stick around

If at all possible, it is advisable to remain on the scene to speak to the police, for several reasons:

1) It may appear to police that you committed a hit and run, or that you have something to hide. You become, in their minds, the person at fault for the accident.

2) You want your side of the story to be included in their reports. If you are not on hand, the other party gets to tell your story for you.

3) Police are human, and busy, and they frequently make mistakes and omissions in writing up accident reports. Documenting what you saw happen provides another perspective on what transpired.

4) The witnesses you talk to may mean the difference between just compensation and no compensation. And if you talk to them the next day, their perspective may have changed and be less objective.

Your safety must be your #1 concern. But it is important that you -- the companion traveling with you -- or a Good Samaritan who saw what happened - take notes. This information will be important in obtaining full compensation later.

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