What to Do After a Chain-Reaction Crash
Winter weather can lead to some treacherous driving conditions. Just ask the drivers involved in two chain-reaction crashes -- a 52-car pileup and a 100-car pileup, both of which occurred Monday near Cincinnati.
One person was killed and at least 20 others were hurt in the crashes, reports Dayton, Ohio's WDTN-TV. You can bet investigators, insurance adjusters, and even some lawyers are now trying to sort out what happened.
As wintry conditions settle over much of the nation, weather-related car crashes are inevitable. This winter season, what do you do if you're involved in a chain-reaction crash? Here are some sensible suggestions:
- Stay at the scene. Don't flee! Leaving the scene of an accident is illegal. Most state laws require any driver involved in an accident to remain at the scene and exchange information with other drivers involved. Many times, police officers will take statements from those at the scene. If you don't feel comfortable giving a statement, you can get a lawyer (here are a few tips on how to hire one) to advise you on how to proceed.
- Help others. This goes without saying, and is more of a moral obligation than a legal one. In many states, there are laws in place to protect those who help others in emergency situations. These laws, called Good Samaritan Laws, shield a person who renders aid in an emergency from legal liability caused as the result of his or her help.
- Take pictures. This is very important for insurance claims, as well as for police reports and any potential legal action. For example, if a lawsuit proceeds to court, a police report can be called into evidence or can be referred to when making a case. Photographs taken on your smartphone could be a significant part of the case.
- Call a lawyer. As stated above, if you don't feel comfortable giving a statement to the police, it's wise to call an experienced car accident lawyer. A lawyer can help you figure out what to say and how to phrase it. The lawyer can also help you piece together the chain of events that led up to the crash, which can be a very time-consuming process.