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Three Required Steps if Involved in a Tennessee Car Accident

In today’s world, everyone drives.  Highways, neighborhood streets, and parking lots are full of drivers of different age ranges and driving experience.  Because of this, it is of utmost importance to drive with care and respect of the drivers around you.  However, no matter how protective and cautious you are, there is always that one person on the road or potential unforeseen hazard that could lead to a car accident.  If the unfortunate happens, Tennessee residents need to refresh their knowledge of Tennessee accident laws to protect themselves and their rights.  Below are the first three steps that a driver of a motor vehicle must take in the event of an accident.

ONE: Stop for all accidents involving injury, death, or property damage

According to Tennessee Code Annotated 55-10-101, “the driver of any vehicle involved in an accident resulting in injury to or death of any person shall immediately stop the vehicle at the scene of the accident or as close to the scene as possible.”  This stop, however, must occur with as little obstruction of traffic as is necessary.  This law applies not only to highways and roads, but also to any parking lots or other areas that are frequently visited by the public at large.  Failure to stop in violation of this section can result in a Class A misdemeanor.  This penalty enlarges to a Class E felony if the driver leaves the scene when he or she knew or should have reasonably known that death resulted in the accident.  Moreover, a driver who fails to stop shall have his or her license or permit revoked.

Moreover, even if no injury is apparent, under Tennessee Code Annotated 55-10-102, the same rules apply.  However, the charges are different.  If the property damage to the other vehicle is under $500.00, the runaway driver will receive a Class B misdemeanor.  On the other hand, if the property damage is over $500.00, the resulting penalty is a Class A misdemeanor.

TWO: Give information and render aid

Under Section 55-10-103 of Tennessee law, the driver of any vehicle involved in an accident shall give the “driver’s name, address, and registration number of the vehicle the driver is driving” to the other party in the accident.  Moreover, the driver must provide his driver’s license if so requested by the other party.  Additionally, if an injury occurs in the accident, the driver shall provide reasonable assistance to carry or make arrangements to carry the injured person to a place for medical or surgical treatment if it is clear that treatment is necessary or the injured person requests treatment.

THREE: Call the police

The last of the first three steps required under Tennessee law is to notify the police as soon as possible.  According to Tennessee Code Annotated 55-10-106, “the driver of a vehicle involved in an accident resulting in injury to or death of any person or property damage to an apparent extent of fifty dollars or more” shall immediately notify the local police department, county sheriff, or nearest state highway patrol.

In addition to the required steps listed above, it is just as important to stay calm and ensure that no further damage or injury will happen.  Watch your surroundings and take all the necessary steps to prevent another accident.  Remember to take pictures and record everything that happened as soon as possible to avoid any lapse in memory.  Feel free to talk to any witnesses and get their contact information in case you may need to contact them at a later date.  Furthermore, if you are injured in the car wreck, be sure to document all of your medical treatment and any way the injury has affected your daily life.  Also, consider consulting an attorney in the event that you are injured.

At Nahon, Saharovich & Trotz, our Memphis car accident attorneys are ready to take your call. You can schedule a free consultation by calling 1-800-LAW-4004.