An auto accident can occur so quickly that it leaves people shaken and out of sorts. Unfortunately, in that frightening state, most people involved in crashes fail to take the appropriate steps. They also fail to recognize what their rights are and often make errors that complicate their case.
In a traffic collision, it is crucial to know what your rights and obligations are. The knowledge will help you take the appropriate steps and avoid saying the wrong things. In this article, our Albuquerque car accident lawyers explain your rights and obligations in an auto accident. Then, if you are a victim of an auto crash, we can offer you excellent legal advice and representation.
What Are Your Rights After a Traffic Accident?
As a car, truck, motorcycle, pedestrian, or bicycle accident victim, the law guarantees you specific rights. Below are some of them.
Right to Compensation
As an auto accident victim, you are entitled to monetary compensation. This is because New Mexico uses the fault-based compensation system. Under this system, accident victims can get bodily injury and property damages, and the at-fault driver has to pay the sum. Usually, their auto insurance coverage handles the payment, or the fault party pays out-of-pocket if they don’t have insurance.
Right to Medical Attention
Whether or not you suffer injuries from an accident, you have the right to seek medical attention. Getting treatment starts from the crash scene and extends to the hospital. So ensure that you let the paramedics examine you before leaving the scene. If they advise you to go to a hospital for a checkup, do so immediately. Note that if you don’t get treated when you should, the fault party would claim you worsened your injury.
Right to Remain Silent
Most people are not aware of this, but accident victims are at liberty to keep silent and not divulge any information. But this rule applies mostly when dealing with insurance companies and not the police. After an accident, the fault party’s insurance carrier would contact you immediately in an attempt to settle.
They will ask you questions about the occurrence when you might not be mentally and emotionally stable. You don’t have to make a statement at this point, and no law compels you to. Instead, wait until you get an attorney before having any conversation with an insurance company. Even if you choose to talk to an insurance representative, ensure you do not say anything that makes it seem you are at fault.
Right to Evidence
There are instances when you’ll be unable to gather evidence from the crash scene. An example is where you were severely injured and spent a long time getting treatment. In such situations, the only option available to you is applying to get a copy of the police report. As long as you meet the guidelines, you should get a copy. But should the police fail to give one to you, your attorney can obtain a court order to compel them to do so.
Right to an Attorney
Although most people prefer not to contact an attorney after an accident, they have a right to. Everyone, whether in a criminal or civil action, has the right to get an attorney. Getting legal representation is crucial as a lawyer understands the personal injury claims process more than you do. They also have experience dealing with insurance representatives and will ensure you don’t get a low-ball settlement offer.
What Are Your Obligations After an Auto Accident?
Knowing your obligations are as crucial as knowing your rights, and failure to do them would lead to adverse consequences. For example, some obligations auto accident victims have are:
- Remaining at the Crash Scene: If you leave the accident site before the first responders arrive, you might face a hit-and-run charge and possibly cast doubt on whether you’re the victim.
- Call 911 and Help the Injured: You should call 911 and report the accident as soon as it happens. If there are injured victims, assist them without complicating their injuries.
- Exchange Information: You should exchange contact information with the other party or parties involved. This should include car registration details, insurance details, phone number, and contact address.
Learn More About Your Rights From Our Expert Auto Accident Attorneys!
At FBD Law, we have a team of car accident attorneys with years of defending and upholding the rights of crash victims. We will bring our knowledge and experience to bear on your case and get you the compensation you deserve. Contact us today to find out how we can help you win your claim.