Your day can be progressing quite nicely and to plan when suddenly, everything goes haywire. You're on your way to an appointment in your car and have a busy afternoon ahead of you, but all of a sudden need to place these plans on hold. It's understandable if you are confused and somewhat shocked, but this is not the time to crawl up into a ball. You need to pay attention, as liability will be questioned. What do you need to bear in mind?
What to Consider
Often, a crash involves one or more different vehicles and there is no such thing as a "standard" accident. A variety of different factors have to be considered and it may well be that more than one person was at fault. Driving without paying attention, speeding or texting could be factors, while a driver can also be impaired.
Are you sure that you weren't involved in creating the accident, yourself? This can be a very confusing situation for investigators when determining not only who was responsible, but how much each person contributed. The legal system lays out a certain standard of care that every driver has to exercise and the position of each driver involved is going to be gauged against that.
What You Should Do Now
An investigation into an accident centres on the scene of the crash and researchers will need to compile as much information as possible from those present. In particular, the police officers who attend the scene will be questioned in order to determine their point of view. This is why it's a good idea for you to pay attention now, to see if they issue any tickets to certain individuals. Also, pay close attention to see if any arrests are made that may be linked to other issues or outstanding warrants. This can have a bearing on liability in the eyes of the law.
If any citations are issued, this will usually be an indication that the associated driver (and their insurance company) has some liability here. It is nevertheless a good idea to gather any contact details from impartial witnesses who you may see, as their testimony may help your case. Also, take your own photographs of the scene and in particular any tell-tale tyre marks left by certain cars, as they attempted to avoid the collision.
You should know that insurance companies will fight among themselves to try and avoid paying out in the case of any accident. They may also want to bring into play a legal instrument known as "comparative negligence." This can often have a significant bearing on how much compensation is paid to all of the relevant vehicle owners and is a complicated scenario in itself.
What to Do Next
While you should be gathering all of this information and paying attention in the moment, you should also ensure that you contact a lawyer specialising in auto accidents and compensation as soon as possible thereafter.