Things Not To Do After a Car Accident
Car accidents have a way of bringing out the worst in people. Even the most cool-headed among us can find themselves completely overwhelmed when they’re involved in an accident. After all, keeping calm under pressure is easier said than done. Here are eight behaviors you should avoid after a car accident.
It’s easy to get caught up in the chaos of an accident scene. Chances are, your body will be pumping with adrenaline after a collision. You’re suddenly faced with difficult and potentially dangerous decisions. Your mind is likely jumping into survival mode, with fight or flight instincts kicking in. Of course, having a panic attack amidst an already stressful incident isn’t helpful. Should you feel yourself overcome with emotion and unable to process the events unfolding before you, take a moment to breathe deeply. If it is safe to do so, step aside and remind yourself that you’ll be okay. Staying calm is the first important thing to do after a car accident.
Panicking can result in actions that we may regret later. Getting upset with the other driver could lead to more problems. In a state of panic, you may forget to takes steps to protect yourself down the road. Keep a level head, call the authorities, and document your accident.
Flee the Scene
This should be common sense. But given the number of hit and run accidents that occur in the US each year, it’s important to include fleeing the scene on our list of avoidable behaviors. Regardless of the circumstances surrounding the accident, you’re always better off sticking around. It is also important to cooperate with the authorities, if the accident warrants their presence. If you flee the scene, you are always taking a risk of the police finding you later on. A hit and run charge will only add to any other offenses charged against you.
For some, apologies are second nature. You might apologize for bumping into someone in the grocery store or walking in front of someone’s view at the movie theater. So it’s natural to want to apologize for your role in a car accident. Resist this urge. Even if you believe you caused the wreck, it is best not to inadvertently admit fault. By apologizing at the scene, this may misinterpret as admitting fault. Feel free to ask if the other driver is okay. Be polite when asking for paperwork and information.
Always remember to not admit fault before speaking with an attorney. An admission or even perceived admission of fault could prevent you from claiming a settlement after the accident.
Forgo a Call to Police
Some car accidents seem so minor that you might want to forgo a call to police and the insurance company. It might seem silly to report such a minor fender bender. But it’s up to the local authorities to decide whether or not your accident warrants a report. Do your due diligence and call the police department’s non-emergency line to inform them of the incident. Should you notice a sore neck or extensive damage to your car later, you’ll have a record of the accident. A police report can be a great asset when you are filing a claim or seeking compensation from an insurance company.
When your adrenaline is pumping, you might not feel the injuries you sustained in the accident. In some cases, it takes hours or even days for the seriousness of the injuries to become clear. Always get examined by a healthcare professional after an accident. The phrase “better safe than sorry” is for instances just like this. After all, should you forgo an examination and notice an injury a few days later, it could be difficult for you to tie it back to your accident. This oversight could leave you to pay for the resulting medical bills out of pocket. A doctor’s assessment of your injuries is important documentation when seeking a settlement.
Leave the Scene Without Information
Whether your accident was minor or severe, it’s important to exchange information with the other driver involved. It’s understandable that you might be eager to leave the scene. But you’ll need as much information as possible about the other driver involved to file a claim with your insurance company. Be sure to write down the contact information of both the driver and the responding police officer. Also get the other driver’s insurance details, license plate number and snap photos of the scene with your phone. Be sure to take pictures of all the damage and the area surrounding the accident. Evidence of poor weather or road condition could have an impact on your case.
Post on Social Media
In today’s age of technology, you many be constantly checked in with your followers on social media. You always share your day online, so why wouldn’t you keep them in the loop when you’ve been in a traumatic accident? It’s becoming more and more common for insurance companies to glean information from your social media account to deny claims. Even with the privacy settings locked down, there are ways for strangers to see what you’ve been posting. When it comes to details about your accident, keep it off of social media for your own good.
Forgo Calling a Lawyer
Even the most minor of car accidents require some follow-up. You may find yourself on the phone with the insurance company a lot. Perhaps you need to return to the doctor for checkups. Your car repair may takes weeks after a car accident. Calling a lawyer can feel like one more chore. It’s true that not everyone involved in a car accident necessarily needs an attorney. However, you could be making a big mistake by not at least consulting with one, particularly if fault is in question. A car accident attorney can advise you on your case and help you get a larger settlement, if you are expecting compensation.
If you were in a car accident, Lawsuit Info Center’s free car accident settlement calculator is a great place to start. Simply fill in a few details about your crash and see how much your case could be worth. Then use Lawsuit Info Center to connect with a car accident lawyer in your area for a free consultation. There is no obligation to work with the attorney, just free information to help you better understand your legal options. Get the legal advice you need from an experienced lawyer today.