I was in a car accident and it was my fault. What do I do?
If you were in a car accident and it was your fault, here are some things you should do.
Remain at the scene of the car accident
In Michigan, it is a crime to leave the scene of an accident. If you caused an accident, call the police and remain at the scene until the police arrive.
Tell the Truth
Accepting responsibility for a crash is hard. You may feel pressure to minimize your role in the crash. Tell the truth. If the other driver files a lawsuit against you for the crash, you will be in a far worse position if you lie. You paid for insurance for this reason. If you are honest, your insurance company should pay the accident victim’s claim or hire a lawyer to defend you if a lawsuit is filed. You do not want to be testifying under oath and be caught in a lie. That can be grounds for criminal charges. Tell the truth from the outset and be consistent. If you don’t remember, say so. Don’t assume what might have happened. Car accidents happen fast and memories change. Only make statements you know are true.
Report the Crash to Your Insurance Company
Call your insurance company and notify them you were in a car crash. Provide a truthful account of the crash. Ask that a claim be opened. If the other driver files a lawsuit against you, your insurance company will hire a lawyer to defend you. Your insurance needs to know about the crash to defend you.
Seek Medical Care if Necessary
Michigan is a No-Fault insurance state. Generally, if you were involved in a car accident, even if it was your fault, you are entitled to Michigan No-Fault benefits from your insurance company. Michigan No-Fault benefits include medical treatment, wage loss, and other benefits. Your insurance will only pay those benefits if you have medical documentation to support your crash injuries and wage loss. If you were hurt, or you think you might be hurt, go to the emergency room and get checked out. Make a record of your injuries. This helps to prevent your insurance company from later denying medical bills on the basis that you were not hurt in the crash. See other blogs on our website for more information regarding Michigan No-Fault benefits.
Get the Police Report
Get the police report and review it. Make sure the information in the report is accurate. If it’s not, contact the investigating police officer and request an amendment to the report. Do the same thing if there is important information missing from the report, such as bad weather. There may be important factors that contributed to the crash. Make sure those are in the police report.
Consider Contacting a Lawyer
You want to make sure you know your rights so you can protect them. In certain crashes, such as a drunk driving crash, the at-fault driver may face criminal charges. You may want to consult with a criminal defense lawyer before speaking with police. Most traffic crashes do not involve any type of criminal prosecution. Circumstances where criminal prosecution may become an issue typically involve alcohol, drugs, or texting. If you were involved in a crash involving one of these things, you should consult a criminal defense lawyer.
Car accidents are stressful, and no-one intends for them to happen. Stay calm, work with your insurance company, and tell the truth