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Should You Move Your Vehicle Immediately After a Crash?

Car accidents are a common occurrence on Wisconsin roads, with 115,694 occurring in 2020. They can happen to anyone, regardless of how careful or experienced a driver is. In the event of a car accident, it’s essential to prioritize safety and take appropriate action to ensure the well-being of yourself and other drivers and passengers involved in the crash.

One question that often arises after a car accident is whether or not to move the vehicle immediately. The answer is maybe, depending on the situation. By understanding the risks and benefits of moving your vehicle after an accident, you can take the appropriate steps to ensure everyone’s safety.

When to Move Your Vehicle

While some people mistakenly believe it is illegal to move their car after an accident, Wisconsin law requires that drivers stop where it is safe and remain at the scene of an accident. Situations in which it is appropriate to move your vehicle after an accident include:

  • You Are in Danger and at Risk of Being Hit by a Passing Vehicle

If your vehicle is in a dangerous location, such as on a busy highway or in the middle of an intersection, move it and yourself to a safer location.

  • You Are Obstructing Oncoming Traffic and Risking Another Accident

Leaving your vehicle in the middle of the road can create a dangerous situation for you and other drivers, as well as cause traffic congestion and delay emergency response vehicles. Moving your vehicle to the side of the road or a nearby parking lot can prevent further accidents and ensure traffic flow continues smoothly.

  • It is a Minor Accident with No Apparent Injuries

If the accident is minor and there are no injuries, you may be able to move your vehicle to a nearby parking lot or safe location to exchange information with the other driver(s) involved.

  • You Are Instructed to Move Your Vehicle by Law Enforcement

If law enforcement arrives at the accident scene and instructs you to move your vehicle, follow their instructions. Failure to do so may result in legal consequences, such as a citation or fine.

When Not to Move Your Vehicle

While there are situations where it may be appropriate to move your vehicle after a car accident, there are also times when it’s best to leave your vehicle where it is. Moving your vehicle in certain situations can create more danger and complicate the accident investigation.

  • Someone is Injured

If someone is injured, or if you have injuries that make you incapable of driving, leave your vehicle where it is and wait for emergency responders to arrive. Moving injured car accident victims can cause further harm, especially if they have sustained a head or spinal injury.

  • Your Vehicle is Totaled and Cannot Be Moved

Attempting to move a damaged vehicle can potentially cause additional harm, worsen the damage, and even ignite a fire if there is a fuel leak or the electrical system has been compromised. This could make it harder for investigators to determine the cause of the accident and may also compromise evidence.

It’s essential to prioritize safety and leave the vehicle in place until emergency services or law enforcement arrive to assess the situation.

  • There is a Dispute Over Who is at Fault

If there is a dispute about fault after an accident, avoid moving the vehicles involved until law enforcement arrives to assess the situation, document the scene, gather and preserve evidence, and interview witnesses.

Moving the vehicles could tamper with evidence, like tire marks and debris, making it harder to determine the cause of the accident and who is at fault. Additionally, traffic and road conditions can change rapidly, and leaving the vehicles in place can help investigators recreate the accident.

If you have been in a car accident, you may need an Appleton car accident attorney to help you prove who is at fault and maximize your settlement. 

Contact a Lawyer if You Have Been Injured in an Auto Accident

If you’ve been involved in a car crash, prioritize your safety and well-being, then contact Brian Hodgkiss Injury Lawyers to discuss your legal options to recover damages for your injuries.

Our experienced personal injury lawyers can guide you through the complex process of filing a claim and seeking financial compensation for your injuries. They can also provide valuable legal advice and representation, ensuring your rights are protected.

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