How to Protect Yourself From Liability After an Accident

Getting into a car accident—even a minor one—is one of the most terrifying things that can happen to a person. In the heat of the moment, it's easy to make well-intentioned mistakes that can put you at risk of liability.

Should You Help Other Drivers or Passengers Who are Hurt?

If you are trained to give medical aid, and the injured party consents to your assistance, then you should be free to help them. In most cases, Good Samaritan laws will protect you from any liability. These laws do not, however, typically protect against negligence—like attempting to give medical care when you aren't trained, and making their injuries worse.

Never move a person who isn't able to move on their own, except in cases of immediate peril. If they have a spinal injury, you could do permanent disabling damage by moving them, which you could be held liable for. Call 911 instead.

Giving Your Statement to the Police

You will most likely need to file an accident report with the police, and they may wish to visit the scene, so it's always advisable to call them as soon as you are out of immediate danger. When giving them your statement, you may feel compelled to blurt, "It was all my fault! If only I had been paying attention, I could have stopped in time!"

As difficult as it may be, try to hold back emotional opinions about whose fault it was—even if you feel guilty. After looking at the facts of the incident, you may realize it wasn't really your fault, but an admission of guilt in a police statement could still be used in a liability claim against you.

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