Any car crash is stressful, whether it involves just one car or many. No matter what the outcome is from your car accident, you need to take certain steps to protect yourself, even if the crash wasn’t your fault.
We understand that you might be tempted to leave the scene of a crash if your car appears to have sustained minimal damage, and if you don’t “feel” hurt. Not only is this illegal in Tennessee, but it acts against your self-interests. Not all injuries immediately present with symptoms, and you may learn later that your car sustained more damage than you thought. You’re going to need documentation in order to make a claim, so even if you didn’t cause your own collision, there are a few things you should do.
Try to call 911 as soon as you can do so from a safe place. If you need to move your vehicle out of a travel lane, do this first and then dial 911. You want police, fire and/or EMS to respond to your car accident scene. This will start the ball rolling for a police report, and you can be transported to the hospital if your injuries require attention.
Do I have to report a car crash to my insurance company?
Technically, no – not always. But you do have to call the police if there’s more than $50 worth of damage, and you have call the insurance company if there’s more than $400 worth of damage.
If you’re trying to avoid a rate increase, know this: under the law, your insurance rates can only increase if someone else makes the claim. If you are hit by a car in Nashville and make a claim for compensation, your rates can’t go up.
Exchange info with at-fault driver
If the accident was not a hit and run, speak to the other driver(s). Exchange as much information as possible. Ask for their names, phone numbers, insurance policy numbers, license plate numbers, driver’s license numbers, addresses and email addresses. All of this information will be needed to file a claim against their insurance company, and your lawyer will want it too.
Talk to witnesses
Did concerned witnesses rush to your aid after the crash? Ask them to stay and talk with you. Ask them for their names and contact information. Also ask that they speak to the officer and provide a statement. Be sure to get the names of all the officers who respond to the scene, too.
Take a lot of pictures
Be sure to take a lot of pictures of the crash scene, your injuries and your vehicle. Document the road conditions, street signs, traffic lights, debris and anything else you think an attorney would want to see from the scene. Pictures may show the effects of the crash more effectively, and help keep the memories fresh.
What if I am the victim of a hit and run accident in Nashville?
Even if the driver who struck you fled the scene, you must remain in order to speak to law enforcement. As we said, it’s illegal to flee – and it’s also a bad idea to try and chase the driver who hit you and then fled. (Vigilante justice is never a smart move.) You could wind up hurting yourself or someone else chasing the driver who hit you, or doing more damage to your car that insurance won’t cover. Let the police handle tracking down the driver.
Hurt in a wreck in Nashville that wasn’t your fault? Get a Gladiator on your side! Call Rocky McElhaney Law Firm at 615-425-2500 or complete our contact form to schedule a free consultation today. With offices in Nashville, Hendersonville, and Clarksville, you won’t have to go far to protect your rights.
Nashville personal injury attorney Rocky McElhaney is a well-known and respected lawyer as well as published author, helping Tennesseans through difficult times since the turn of the century. Rocky builds friendships with his clients, not just professional relationships. Rocky McElhaney is a Super Lawyer, AV Rated by Martindale Hubbell, has been named a Top 100 Trial Lawyer by the National Trial Lawyers Association and has been awarded Best Lawyer in Nashville by the Nashville Scene Readers’ Poll
The Rocky McElhaney Law Firm represents people who have been injured by car accidents, truck accidents, motorcycle accidents, negligent premises owners, defective products and many other forms of negligence throughout the state of Tennessee. The firm also represents clients in the areas of workers’ compensation and Social Security Disability claims.