A side-impact accident is a type of car crash where the sides of two vehicles collide. These collisions often take place when one vehicle makes an unsafe merge or lane change or cuts another driver off. These car accident cases can be complicated, as both drivers may believe that they had the right-of-way. Taking the correct steps after a side-impact accident can help you protect your legal rights and recover the financial compensation that you require.
Stop and Assess
Always pull over as close to the scene of an auto accident as possible. Nebraska law requires you to immediately pull to a stop after any type of collision, big or small. Leaving the scene of a car accident without stopping is a hit-and-run crime, with potential penalties such as a fine and jail time. Assess yourself, others in your vehicle, and those in the other car for injuries. If anyone is injured, you have a responsibility to render aid, such as by calling an ambulance.
Do Not Admit Fault
In your initial interaction with the other driver, try to stay calm and do not shout or yell. Do not apologize or admit fault for the side-impact accident, either. Fault can be difficult to determine in a side-impact collision. Although you may feel that you were in the wrong, the other driver may share fault. In this case, you may still be eligible for partial financial compensation from the other driver’s insurance provider.
Call the Police
Always call the police after any type of car accident. Although Nebraska law only requires you to call 911 from the scene of a crash that causes injuries, deaths, or at least $1,000 in property damage, calling the police can help you determine fault and document the collision. The police can analyze the scene of the crash, including traffic signs, skid marks, damage to either vehicle, and eyewitness accounts. Then, the officer can fill out an accident report to document important facts.
Exchange Driver Information
While you wait for the police to appear, exchange contact information with the other driver. Write down the other driver’s name, address, phone number, vehicle identification number, license plate number, and insurance information. Take a photograph of his or her driver’s license, as well.
Speak to Eyewitnesses
If there are any eyewitnesses who saw the side-impact crash take place, document their names and phone numbers for future use. Eyewitness statements can help investigators piece together how the crash took place and who is at fault. Eyewitness statements can also provide important evidence during your claim if you are attempting to hold the other driver accountable.
Before you leave the scene of the crash, take photographs of the damage to both vehicles and the site as a whole. Pictures can help investigators and crash reconstruction experts understand how and why the crash took place. Look around for any cameras that might have caught the side-impact collision on tape, as well. These may include traffic cameras and surveillance cameras at nearby businesses.
File an Insurance Claim
Go to a hospital for professional medical care. An insurance company will want to see that you visited a doctor right away. After you receive medical care, call the other driver’s insurance company to file an initial claim. Nebraska is a fault state, meaning that you will file your insurance claim with the insurer of the at-fault party. It will be up to you to prove the other driver is at fault for your side-impact collision.
Consult With a Car Accident Attorney
Proving fault requires evidence that the other driver violated a traffic law, owed you the right-of-way, was driving distracted, made an unsafe lane change, or otherwise caused the accident. An Omaha car accident lawyer can help you collect and present evidence that the other driver is at fault. Then, your lawyer can help you negotiate for fair financial compensation from an insurance company. If you get injured in a side-impact accident, contact an attorney as soon as possible for assistance.