No matter how good a driver we think we are, the reality is that car accidents can happen at just about any time. Events like these can be emotionally stressful (and physically painful, if you’ve been injured in an accident). That makes knowing what to do after a car accident an essential. But it’s just as important to know what NOT to do. By avoiding the following mishaps after an auto accident, you’ll be able to better protect your rights.
After a crash, do not…
- Leave the scene: You might be scared to deal with the consequences of a crash, especially if you think you might have been mostly to blame. But whatever you do, do not leave the accident scene without calling 911, waiting for police to arrive, and filing a report. If you choose to flee, you could be charged with an even more serious crime.
- Apologize: Knowing precisely what to do after a car accident, especially when your adrenaline is pumping, can be a challenge. But one thing you may want to do — but should stop yourself from doing — is apologize or somehow admit any kind of fault. It’s only natural that you’d want to say you’re sorry, even if you aren’t actually to blame. But you need to avoid doing so at all costs. This one little word could be used against you later on to prove you’re liable for the crash. While you can ask the other driver if they’re okay and call for help, do not apologize or say anything that could be construed as accepting blame.
- Neglect to seek medical attention: In the aftermath of a crash, you might not be able to personally assess whether you’re injured or not. But turning down medical care is usually a bad idea. It’s a good idea to at least get checked out, as this will ensure you’ll get the care you need and can play an important role if you do need to file a personal injury claim later on.
- Speak to the other driver’s insurer: If you are injured after a crash and decide to file a claim, the other driver’s insurance company may attempt to entice you with a settlement. This settlement will likely be quite low, but even worse, the insurer may try to use your own words against you. As a rule, do not speak with that insurer without your lawyer present. Your attorney can even communicate with them for you. While it’s tempting to get the matter settled sooner, you’ll be doing yourself a great disservice.
- File a claim on your own: Sometimes, the “what to do after a car accident” list may contain filing a personal injury lawsuit. After all, 52% of all personal injury cases relate to motor vehicle accidents. But you should not attempt to do this on your own. While it is technically possible, it’s certainly not advisable. Filing a “pro se” suit (i.e., representing yourself) can be quite risky and costly, and it might not even benefit you at all in the end. Because these claims can be incredibly complex, it’s much better to file with help from an experienced attorney.
If you or someone you know has been injured in a car crash, having a qualified legal team is a definite “do.” Contact us today to find out more.