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If you’re involved in an accident, stay at the scene

Regardless of fault, if you get involved in a car accident, stay at the scene. Do not leave. Wait for the authorities to arrive. If you need medical treatment, call 911.

But do not leave for any reason. Maybe you’re going to be late for work. Maybe you don’t think the damage is that bad. It doesn’t matter. You need to stay at the scene. In some cases, leaving can bring on felony charges. These can be life-changing. Don’t risk that by going anywhere else.

In most cases, it’s not going to take long for the police to arrive. They need to take your account, talk to the other driver, gather witness statements, document the scene and much more. If you leave, it calls all of that into question.

But what if you didn’t cause the accident? Say another driver ran a red light and hit you. They can’t leave the scene because this is their fault, of course, but can you? The answer is no. You have to stay and go through the process. You may know that you are not at fault right away, but the authorities don’t just take your word for it. Their own investigation is going to determine fault, and they need you to be there for that process.

It’s also in your best interests to stay when the other driver caused the crash simply because establishing fault can help you as you seek financial compensation. You want the police investigation to go smoothly so that you can begin looking into your options, with that police report as evidence.

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