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Duties After Car Crash

Duties After Car Crash


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This article covers certain duties after a car crash.

Property Damage Only

A driver involved in an accident that results in damage to property or to another vehicle must stop immediately at the scene of the accident. Once the driver has stopped, he is responsible to provide his name, address, insurance information, and vehicle registration number. If the damage to property is estimated by the drivers to be greater than $1000, local law enforcement must be notified with both drivers present.

Accidents with Unattended Property

If a driver is involved in an accident with an unattended vehicle or object, it is the driver’s responsibility to find and communicate with the owner about the accident. If this isn’t possible, it is permissible to leave a written notice on the vehicle or site, listing the driver’s name, address, insurance information, and vehicle registration number.

Accidents Involving Injuries or Death

A driver involved in an accident that results in injuries or death must stop his vehicle immediately at the scene. The driver must provide his name, address, insurance information, and vehicle registration number to the injured party or to the attending police officer.

All accidents resulting in injury or death, or totaling property damage greater than $1000 must be reported to the Department of Transportation within ten days of the accident.

Emergency Vehicles

The following are emergency vehicles as described in the statute: ambulances, police vehicles, fire trucks, and other vehicles as designated by the Department of Public Safety.


A driver of an emergency vehicle has the following privileges when responding to an emergency:

  • Park the vehicle where necessary regardless of the traffic code
  • Travel past a red stoplight or stop sign after slowing down for safety through the intersection
  • Travel at speeds greater than the speed limit posted
  • Disregard rules regarding traffic moving or turning in a specified direction

Proper use of Visual Warning

The purpose of visual warning signals on emergency vehicles is to warn other drivers and the public in general, not to give the emergency vehicles legal immunity.  Therefore, an adequate visible warning must be given and taken into account in the case of an accident with an emergency vehicle.

Duties of Emergency Vehicle Operators to Other Vehicles

Even while responding to an emergency situation, the driver of an emergency vehicle must use reasonable care for safety in the existing circumstances. The requirement for the regard for the safety of the public is not satisfied by simply using visual and audible warning signals. In addition, a driver’s right to drive at exceeding speed depends on the condition of the patient in the emergency.

Duties of Other Drivers to Emergency Vehicles

If an emergency vehicle is approaching while using audible or visible warning signals, other vehicles on the road must yield the right-of-way to the emergency vehicle immediately.  Drivers should move to the right-hand edge of the road until the emergency vehicle has passed.

Duty of Drivers with Respect to Tow Trucks

If a tow truck is approaching or stationary while using flashing amber lights, a driver must slow down and allow as much space as possible and practical to the tow truck.