What To Do In Case Of An Automobile Accident

Kentucky and Indiana laws require that the driver of a vehicle involved in an accident resulting in personal injury or death, or resulting in damage to a vehicle which is driven or attended by any person, shall immediately stop his vehicle at the scene of the accident.

Assist The Injured
Your first duty, after stopping your car, is to check for injured persons. If someone is seriously injured, try to get a doctor or call an ambulance, whichever is quicker.

Make the injured person comfortable but do not move him/her unless you know what you are doing. Good intentions on your part may result in further injury to the victim.

The law requires that you render to any injured person reasonable assistance, including the taking or the making of arrangements for the carrying of such person to a physician, surgeon, or hospital for medical or surgical treatment if it is apparent that such treatment is necessary, or if such carrying is requested by the injured person.

Protect The Scene
Make every effort to prevent further accidents. If possible, have someone stationed to warn approaching vehicles. If at night, and flares and reflectors are available, put them out or have it done; if you have a flashlight, use it to halt or slow on-coming vehicles.

Call An Officer
The law requires that the driver of a vehicle involved in an accident resulting in personal injury or death shall immediately, by the quickest means of communication, give notice of the accident to the local police department, if the accident occurs within a city, or, if it occurs outside city limits, to the office of the County Sheriff or to the nearest office or station of the State Police.
Even when there are no apparent personal injuries, it is advisable to give this notice immediately so that an officer can investigate the accident promptly. His official report may greatly assist you later if any claim of liability is made.

Do not comment on the accident. Keep your notes and your information strictly to yourself. Admit nothing and sign nothing, even if you think you are in the wrong. You may learn later that you were not in the wrong or that the other driver was equally to blame or more so. Hasty, emotional admissions can be costly. There is plenty of time to admit blame later if the facts clearly show that you alone were wrong.

The law requires only that you give your name, address, and the registration number of the vehicles you are driving, and exhibit your driver’s license number to the person struck, or to the driver or the occupant of or the person attending the vehicle.

Assist The Officer
Remain at the scene, unless injured, until the officer arrives. Cooperate with the officer by advising him briefly of the basic facts. Remember that no one can force you to give an opinion of the cause of the accident at the scene, at police headquarters, or elsewhere. You have the right to consult a lawyer before making any statement. If it is a serious accident, consult your lawyer as quickly as possible.

Identify The Other Driver
Obtain the other driver’s name, address, and the registration number of the vehicle he is driving, and request him to exhibit to you his driver’s license. Kentucky law requires him to give this information and, upon request, to exhibit his driver’s license, and requires you to do the same.

Obtain the names and addresses of all witnesses as soon as you can, both eyewitnesses and all others who might have information about any circumstances of the accident. After writing down their names and addresses, attempt to obtain from these witnesses a statement as to what happened and have them, if they will, write it down at the scene. Always have a pencil and pad, as well as this folder, in the glove compartment of your car.

Take Notes – Fill Out Accident Information Form and Diagram
Make your own written notes on all significant circumstances concerning the accident, as soon as possible after the accident. Show position of cars after the accident. Step off exact distances. Be certain that you can, at a later date, a point on the road where the vehicles collided and where they came to a stop. If you or someone else has a camera at the scene, take pictures to preserve skid marks, the position of cars, and other physical evidence that will disappear after the accident. Fill out the Accident Information Form and diagram in this folder so far as appropriate to the type of accident involved and the particular circumstances.

An arrest at the scene of the accident of the other party or yourself does not necessarily indicate liability. A plea of guilty may be used as an admission, so it is important that you contact your lawyer as soon as possible before admitting any liability or guilt.

When To Leave The Scene
Unless your injuries compel you to do otherwise, do not leave the scene of the accident until you have assisted the injured, protected the scene, called an officer and assisted him, identified the other driver, obtained the names, address, and statements of all witnesses, made notes, and filled out the Accident Information Form and diagram at the end of this folder.

See A Doctor
Remember that serious and costly injuries do not always result in immediate pain or bloodshed.

Inform Insurance Company
Make a complete report to your automobile liability insurance company immediately, or, if you desire, have your lawyer make the report for you. Failure to make a prompt report may void your insurance.

If you are a member of any group insurance plan or have personally purchased insurance providing medical or disability coverage, you should also notice such company or companies of your accident and injury, and file appropriate claims.

Pay Nothing
Make no immediate payment of any kind to the other party and do not promise to make a payment. Any such payment would be at your own risk. The other driver cannot force you to make any payment without legal proceedings, nor can he hold your car without any legal action.

Select Your Own Lawyer
Be cautious in dealing with persons offering to adjust your case or anyone seeking to hurry you into a settlement. Select your own lawyer to advise you. A lawyer is trained to assist you in handling the problems which are created as a result of the collision.

Comply With The Financial Responsibility Plan
Every owner or registrant of a motor vehicle licensed in this state must either have insurance or have posted an equivalent bond or certificate of self insurance with the state. The minimum amount of insurance required is fixed by the Legislature and subject to change. Now the amounts required are $25,000 for the injury of one person, $50,000 for the injury of more than one person in any one accident, and $10,000 for property damage. Failure to comply with this law will result in revocation of your operator’s license and vehicle registration.