Unfortunately, car accidents happen every day, involving even the most cautious and responsible drivers. Knowing what to expect and how to handle an accident situation is a proactive step that can help car accident victims during this stressful time.
Below are some important things to remember if you find yourself involved in a car accident in Delaware.
Remain at the Scene
Individuals involved in car accidents should never leave the scene of the accident. Under Delaware law, there are significant penalties for doing so, including the revocation of driving privileges or the suspension of your driving license.
Focus on Safety First
While panic is a natural reaction to being in a car accident, it is important to remain as calm as possible, in order to focus on the safety of everyone involved in the accident. When there are injured individuals, call 911 immediately to request medical assistance and an ambulance.
Even in cases where there are no physical injuries, the local Delaware police should also be notified of the accident. Examine the accident scene to determine if it is safe to remain close to the vehicles. If there is smoke or fire, move to a safer location as you wait for help.
Car accident scenes can quickly become a traffic safety hazard to other vehicles and pedestrians. If you are able to continue driving your vehicle, be sure to pull your vehicle to a safe place close to the accident scene without obstructing traffic. Be sure to turn off the car’s engine and use the parking brake if possible. Use your hazard lights or flares to warn other drivers that your vehicle is not moving.
Exchange Key Information
Delaware laws require that drivers provide certain information to the other individuals (including the other drivers, passengers, or pedestrians) involved in a car accident. All involved parties should exchange key information before leaving the scene of the accident, including: contact information (such as name, address, phone numbers), the makes and models of all involved vehicles, driver license numbers, license plate numbers, automobile insurance policy information, and the names and badge numbers of any responding police officers.
If there are witnesses to the accident, drivers should also obtain their contact information, as their testimony might be needed in the future. It is also a good idea to take photographs at the scene of the accident, including damage to the vehicles or other properties, as well as road conditions.
When the accident involved a parked or otherwise unattended vehicle, it can be more difficult to exchange information. You must make every effort to determine the owner and location of those vehicles. This may include leaving a note with your name and contact information if you are unable to locate them.
Notify the Delaware Department of Motor Vehicles
Certain car accidents also must be reported to the Delaware Department of Motor Vehicles. You must complete and submit an Accident Form to the local police agency when the accident:
- Results in death or injury
- Occurs on a public highway and results in at least $500 in property damage
- Involves a driver under the influence of drugs or alcohol and results in at least $1,000 in property damage.
Contact Your Automobile Insurance Company
Immediately following a car accident, the involved drivers may be too stunned or upset to remember to contact their automobile insurance company. However, your insurance company could provide invaluable assistance during this stressful time.
Several insurance companies provide smartphone apps which allow you to submit photos and process your insurance claim right from the scene. Always carry your insurance identification card with your insurance company’s contact information.
Delaware Car Accident Lawyers at McCann Dillon Jaffe & Lamb, LLC Assist Individuals Injured in Car Accidents
If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident, compensation may be available. At McCann Dillon Jaffe & Lamb, LLC, our experienced Delaware car accident lawyers can help you navigate the legal process to protect your rights as a car accident victim. Call us today at 302-888-1221 to schedule your confidential initial consultation or contact us online.
We serve clients throughout Delaware, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey.