Many Americans have resorted to carpooling when going to work or other places as this enables them to use High Occupancy Vehicle lanes. This is also a great way for the environmentally conscious to add fewer greenhouse gases to the atmosphere. However, this can also make matters a bit complicated in the event of an accident.
After an accident, one of the main challenges is usually to find out which party was at fault. This may seem obvious in other cases but in the case of a carpool, you'll need to handle things more carefully.
Ensure Everybody in Your Car is Safe
Safety should always be your main concern. When you are carpooling, you'll have more than your own safety to worry about, especially if some of the vehicle's occupants were minors. Call emergency services as quickly as possible especially if someone in the vehicle seems to be in distress. If there are minors, ensure that they are standing at a safe location, away from traffic.
Don't assume that everyone is okay because there are no visible injuries. Waiting until a medical professional gives them the all-clear before you take them home.
Take Photos of the Accident Scene
In any car accident, you should always assume that the other driver will sue, especially if you were fully or partly at fault for the accident. You may also be the one who is supposed to sue for the accident especially if you or someone else in your car suffered injuries or if your car was damaged. All the information you document will help your case when the time comes. Even if you were at fault, evidence from the crime scene can help to show that you were not fully responsible for the accident.
Hire an Attorney
It's a good idea for anyone who was in either car during the accident to have an attorney. Car accidents when carpooling can be complicated. You might assume that only the drivers can be held responsible, but, thanks to the comparative negligence doctrine even the passengers in a vehicle can be held partly responsible.
For instance, if you did something that forced the driver's attention away from the road, you will have to bear some responsibility for the accident. Whether you're the one suing or the one being sued, you'll need an auto accident attorney to help argue your case or advise you on how to proceed.