If another party causes your car accident, you have the right to pursue compensation for your damages, including property damage, medical bills, and other losses from the at fault driver’s insurance company. However, what happens if you caused the crash? Regardless of whether you were speeding, glancing at your cell phone, or failed to yield on the roadway, this can be a concerning situation. Fortunately, you still may have the right to recover financially for your losses.
Even if you think you caused the accident, an experienced Chattanooga car accident attorney may be able to help you utilize maximum advantage of your legal options to recover compensation.
There are certain things you should and should not do if you think you caused a car accident.
Do not leave the scene
Very importantly, never leave the scene of the accident. You may be subject to certain citations or criminal charges if you do.
Exchange contact information
At a minimum, exchange your contact and insurance information with the other driver(s) involved in the crash. If any injuries or property damage occurred, you are likely obligated to report it to the authorities. It is best to call 911 or the local police department directly in order to have law enforcement respond to the scene ASAP.
Wait for the police
Keep to yourself as much as possible while you wait for law enforcement to arrive. Depending on the nature of the crash and other parties involved, the other driver may attempt to confront you or exhibit anger over the accident. Remain grounded and avoid admitting fault or apologizing. Overall, for legal reasons, it is important to avoid the following after an accident in which you feel you may have been at fault:
- Making apologies or statements that may demonstrate your fault
- Making mention of who you think was to blame for the accident
- Talking about what you were doing before the crash
- Asking questions of other drivers to determine what, if any, mistakes they made as well
Seek medical care ASAP
Receive medical care soon as possible if you have been injured. It is highly important to get the treatment you need to minimize any future complications and shorten your recovery time.
Notify your insurer of the accident
Once your injuries are cared for and stabilized, it is important notify your insurance company about the incident. However, avoid making official statements about how the accident occurred. Simply let them know the accident happened.
What if you were only partially at fault?
If you feel that you were only partially at fault for the accident, it is important to understand that Tennessee operates under the legal structure of modified comparative negligence. Under this system, partially liable parties can pursue compensation for their losses, but only if they bear less fault than the other party in the incident. In Tennessee, a person may not recover compensation if he or she is 50% or more liable for an accident. In addition, your contribution to the accident will reduce the percentage of your recovery. As example, if you were 30% fault and incurred $10,000 in losses, you are eligible to recover $7,000. A jury or the insurance company determines the percentage of fault for each driver.
If you suspect a crash was your fault, why would you need a lawyer? There are many benefits associated with having legal counsel evaluate your situation and options even if you think you bear responsibility or partial responsibility for the accident.
If you or a loved one has incurred an injury in a car accident as a result of your own fault or a mixture of your fault and the fault of another party, our Chattanooga car crash attorneys at Wagner & Wagner can help. We understand intricately how the negligence laws work in the state of Tennessee and can help you pursue the maximum financial compensation possible in your case. To arrange a free consultation, give us a call today at 423.454.3387 or send us a message through our contact form. Our team offers strong representation services to residents in Chattanooga, Cleveland, TN, and throughout North Georgia.