I was in an Accident! What do I have to do?
If you were in a car accident today, do you know what Iowa law requires you to do? If you are like any Iowans, you may not know for sure. Iowa law has a number of very specific legal requirements following a car accident. This article is meant to inform or remind you of just what those requirements are.
To begin with, the requirements are different depending on the type of accident. The most stringent requirements Iowa law places on drivers is for accidents where another person has been injured or killed. In those instances, you must do the following:
- Immediately stop as close to the scene as possible,
- Do not Obstruct traffic,
- Provide the driver's name, address, and registration number of his or her vehicle,
- Exhibit his or her driver's license only if requested,
- Render reasonable assistance to an injured person,
- Transport or arrange for transportation for medical treatment of an injured person if necessary or requested,
- In the case of a death, remain at the scene except to seek necessary aid or report the accident to law enforcement and then either return to the accident or inform law enforcement where you can be located. *If a driver must leave the scene of an accident resulting in death, they are also required by law to leave his or her driver's license, auto registration receipt or other identification are the scene.
- Otherwise report the accident to law enforcement as quickly as is possible
Ever hear it is the "right thing to do" to leave a note if you hit a parked car? Well in Iowa, it's not just a moral imperative, it is the law. If you strike an unattended vehicle, you are required to immediately notify the owner or operator or leave a note with your name and address of the driver and owner of the car that strturck the vehicle in a conspicuous place.
What about if you strike a traffic sign or other property? If the sign or property is legally situated along side a road in Iowa, the driver must take reasonable steps to notify the owner or law enforcement including the name address and registration number of the driver and vehicle.
If the accident involves damage likely to exceed $1,500.00, it also must be reported but only within 72 hours if it was not otherwise investigated by law enforcement.
There are other additional requirements the law places on Iowa drivers depending on the situation (such as those transporting hazardous materials). this is not meant to be an exhaustive list of every requirement for every situation. it is only meant to remind Iowa drivers of the primary legal requirements if they find themselves in an accident in the state. Laws vary from state to state as well for commercial drivers. For more information, refer to Iowa Code including sections 321.261-321.273 or contact GRL Law.