What should Minnesota drivers do after an auto accident?
In order to protect their rights, it is important for drivers to know what to do after they are involved in an auto accident in Minnesota.
Many drivers do not think they will be involved in a motor vehicle collision. However, the Minnesota Department of Public Safety reports there were more than 78,000 auto accidents across the state in 2014 alone. Due to the emotions that people may experience, they may be upset and unprepared in the event they get into a car wreck. Therefore, it is important for motorists to know what to do after a crash.
Stay at the scene
Minnesota law dictates that drivers must remain at the scene if they are involved in an injury or fatal motor vehicle accident. The law does allow them to move out traffic, if they are able, provided that stay as close to where the wreck occurred as possible. Leaving the collision scene may result in a motorist facing criminal charges.
Check for injuries
Immediately following an auto collision, it is suggested that drivers assess themselves to determine if they have been injured. If they have not, they should check on their passengers, as well as the occupants of the other vehicles that were involved. Should anyone have suffered serious injuries, motorists must do their best to offer aid. Furthermore, they or someone else should call for emergency medical assistance.
Contact the authorities
After a car accident that does not require emergency medical aid, drivers should call the authorities. In many cases, a law enforcement officer will be sent to the scene to investigate the crash. When, collisions result in total property damage of at least $1,000, injury or death, motorists must file a report with the Minnesota Driver and Vehicle Services division. This report must be made using the appropriate form within 10 days, according to the Department of Public Safety.
Most drivers are aware that they should exchange information with the other motorists that were involved after a wreck. The Department of Public Safety instructs people to get the names, license plate numbers and addresses for the other drivers and passengers that were in the crash. Motorists should also obtain the contact information for anyone who witnessed the motor vehicle collision.
Do not admit guilt
The words that people speak after an auto accident may be very important down the line. It is recommended that drivers watch what they say to the other vehicle occupants, witnesses and law enforcement officers following a car crash. For example, something as simple as apologizing could be construed as an admission of guilt, which could affect their ability to receive maximum damages.
Document the scene
Following a motor vehicle collision, it is advisable for the drivers involved to document the scene. They may take pictures of the scene, the vehicles involved and any injuries that were suffered. Additionally, those involved may also find it helpful to write down their account of the accident. This information may be useful when seeking damages from the insurance company or at-fault motorist.
Consult with an attorney
As a result of Minnesota auto accidents, people may suffer devastating injuries that require extensive medical treatment. This may cause them to incur unexpected medical bills, as well as lose wages. Therefore, those who have been injured in a car collision may benefit from discussing their situation with an attorney. A legal representative may help them understand their rights and explain their options for seeking financial compensation.